Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Over a latte

The rain pelts down against the glass, leaving delicate and erratic streams in its wake. I follow that pattern with my finger, trying to guess where the falling drops might go. It eludes me each and every time.

"Hey!" I hear, turning around in my seat so quickly that I nearly drop my latte. Which would've been terribly tragic.

I turn around, and it takes a few more moments than it should. Recognition does not come instantly, but when it comes, it comes gloriously.

"Ella?" I ask.

"Yes!" She sets down her drink, and we burst into each others arms like the old dear friends we once were. It feels like we still are. Ahh, yes - that kind of old friend.

"How are you? I haven't seen you in, what? Ten years? More?" she asks me. I grin, taking in her carroty curls that threaten to escape from the piddly elastic holding them back. She really hasn't changed all that much - just add a few more freckles and wrinkles. No, not wrinkles - life etches. How could I not have known her instantly?

"More, I think," I admit, calculating it quickly. "Fifteen? Maybe seventeen?" "Wow," she plops down in the seat across from me. "And are you married? Kids?"

"Married, no kids. Cats, though!" I say, grinning. It's lame to admit to cat parenthood, but she knows my lameness and never minded before.

"I'm married with two kids. Every Wednesday morning, I'm treating myself to 'me time' and coming to this coffee shop to do some writing. I can't believe you're here! How can we have lost touch like we did?"

"Well," I excuse us "I've only been back in town a few months. We lived in England for years. So, it was pretty easy to lose track." Okay, so I love throwing in that bit about living in England. I can't help myself - I did love it. Sometimes I'll even catch myself still urging on my resistant English wannabe accent. Especially to the cats.

She shows me pictures of her kids - one a carroty boy, the other a pale and delicate smiling girl - and one of her and her husband. He looks like a salt of the earth type and I tell her so.

"Oh, Stan is great. He's been my rock, always encouraging me to write. But, tell me about your man! I didn't even know you'd gotten married."

So, we share lifestories, lots of memories stored up to give generously. I insist that this has become an occasion for a gluten free brownie for each of us. Indeed, nearly every day represents such an occasion. And, we sip our hot lattes and grin at each other foolishly at how lovely it is to have been found again.

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