My best friend and I live rather far away, so any occasion to meet and spend some time together simply talking over a cup of coffee is to be treasured. Sure we email and skype, but it’s not the same thing as actually meeting face to face, hugging, laughing and discussing life in no particular order. As time goes by naturally our main subject is our children. My friend has an amazing capacity to ignore the world at large. For her, there is never anything else but her own family which of course is the best group of people one can ever meet. I believe that is why she took her daughter’s divorce much harder than the young couple. “I had both children settled, and now my daughter is single! And as she of course cannot cope with taking care of their son the ex has him!” She laments and berates her ex-son-in-law. While I privately think that her daughter is much to blame for the divorce, because if the same parent is both the breadwinner and child-carer, I see no reason to tell her that. My role as a friend is to listen and to provide support. I keep silent even when she tells me that I never knew any problems and my life is all roses.
Ah, but then there came a moment. On one of my infrequent visits I called her in advance and we arranged to meet at our usual cafe when I could spare the time. She is retired; I work, mine are all business trips. I am always punctual; she is always late. The weather was fine, so I waited for her outside. And suddenly I saw her, coming to our place of meeting – with her divorced daughter! The young woman ran to me and said, ” Mom invited me, I’m glad to see you!” Then my friend approached saying, ” She told me you invited her, I’m glad she has a chance to come out!” Well. I said once we settled down, ” Here I was hoping to see my friend and discuss all our kids, and now since one kid is here we can’t do that”. This was greeted with uncertain smiles, but the young woman did not leave. We chatted about culture and the weather. I paid the bill as usual, since I am the working woman, not my friend. It was perhaps our shortest meeting.
And thus it came about that next time I came to this city I didn’t call my friend. Sure we email and skype but I was not ready for an actual face-to-face. Yet time passed, I was going on a business trip again, and my friend asked me if I was willing to meet. I said frankly, “Sure, if we do it without children, just the two of us”. We met. She was late as usual and not bothered by it in the slightest. Her greeting was quite original: “My daughter, who as you know is divorced and isn’t very happy, wanted to come, but you said no children!” There ensued a lengthy pause. I said mildly, ” Yes, I did say that. Now we can have our coffee and discuss all our kids in peace. How is she?” I listened to the usual tale of how bad the ex is, he works and takes care of the child, imagine! She told me about her other daughter and showed lots of pictures of her grandchildren. The “bad” ex husband, it turned out, brings in the boy regularly to see his grandparents. I showed a few photos of my children and my new granddaughter. We agreed that our kids are the best, the most beautiful, the most talented and in general the most unique young humans on the planet.
We have known each other forever. Whatever life dealt us we supported each other. We don’t judge, never criticize. We do change as time goes by. Life happens to all of us. I am a part of her universe and she is a part of mine.


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