Two inseparable friends of adolescence meet ten years later in a sunny afternoon in the middle of a busy avenue.
“Jo? Is that you?”
“Debbie? Oh my God! I don’t believe it!”
While they smile genuinely, both women analyse each other from head to toe.
“Do you have time for a cup of coffee?”
Somewhat hesitant, Debbie checks her wristwatch and finally agrees.
“I have a meeting in half-hour, but since my office is around the corner, let’s go.”
Seating comfortably at the Café holding their drinks in the hands, Debbie, staring at the first bite of the brownie that Jo had just swallowed, absolutely disapproving it, since a 30 year old woman should be concerned about her weight, says:
“So… How has been life treating you? After your marriage, you moved abroad and already welcomed a child, right?” – asks Debbie.
“Right for the moving abroad: first Paris, then Tokyo and today Boston; and wrong for having a baby just after I took off. I only got pregnant in the fourth year of marriage. You know, we had a very long honeymoon.”
Debbie could not deny that for some reason she was not happy with the news.
“But what about you? Did you finish your studies? I remember you could not talk about anything else at the time, what was quite annoying I must confess.”
Debbie smiles with all the pride in the world:
“If I finished my studies? Ha! With merits, dear! And it has been two years now since I’ve opened my own psychology office! I do travel often overseas in order to participate in innumerable conferences though. I’ve been busy, I tell you…”
Jo also could not say that she felt pleased for her old friend.
“But aren’t you married or anything?” – Jo asks, trying to step on a wound that was not open at all.
“Well, as a matter of fact, I do have a life companion. But we only wish to have children after I finish my masters, which I have been pursuing every single evening of the week for quite some time now.”
Debbie was feeling on top of her game.
“But with all this moving around, becoming a mother and everything, you mustn’t had have the chance of studying, Jo. Isn’t that so?”
Jo knew where she wanted to go.
“Well, I wouldn’t put it this way. Let’s say I’ve studied Japanese, French and also published four books in English. With my background I don’t think I need a University degree.”
“Well, if you were arrested today, you still would share a cell with a street criminal” – Debbie fired back.
“Yes indeed, but for this to happen, I would first have to get involved with criminals or with crazy people, that same kind of people who you call patients.”
Debbie and Jo could no longer pretend the fake smiles.
“Well, time do flies when one is having fun” – Debbie says, checking on her very expensive Swiss made watch. “After all this time, let me at least pay for the coffee and for your brownie.”
“No way!” – protests Jo. “The honour is all mine, doctor” – she insists with a cynical tone.
Jo opens her wallet and accidentally lets show a picture of her beautiful daughter.
“How cute!” – are Debbie’s remarks, looking for something of hers that she could show Jo in order to match her in some way.
“In my wallet I just carry the photo of my husband. Take a look…”
Debbie showed the photo of her life companion where he was displaying his six-packs right in front of an inviting pool of the house where they lived.
Jo is surprised and asks in her thoughts:
“Where did she find this fox?”
But instead of asking it out loud, she prefers saying:
“Wow! Your home is beautiful and your husband, or is it life companion, seems to be a good person. But I too carry a picture of my husband. You do remember him, don’t you?
Debbie looks at the picture where Jo’s husband was fishing from a yacht.
“Nice. Where did you rent the boat?” – Debbie asks.
“Ah no, the boat is ours. But we only use it a couple of times a year. Today our captain, in Monaco, is looking after the boat. Because we also possess homes in Barcelona, in Zurich and a small loft in the heart of Manhattan, it is hard to stay in just one place, at least until our loving daughter enters school!”
“But didn’t you say you lived in Boston? And what we are doing here in Buenos Aires?”
“We are here on vacation, on our way to Tahiti. About Boston, it’s just for more two years.”
Debbie checked at her watch again. She could continue sitting there and put all her cards on the table, things that she had achieved in the past ten years such as: my home, my husband, my clothes and my jewellery, but she would certainly have to cope with Jo’s cards like: my home, my trips, my family and my yacht.
In this silent moment, Jo noticed Debbie’s perfect skin and stunning hair, while Debbie noticed Jo’s hips and belly in perfect shape.
Although Jo and Debbie could not stop trying to show their superiority, perhaps they would have had more fun in this reunion by chance if one of them had said at the very first moment:
“Let’s have a cup of coffee. But I don’t want to know what you’ve done in the last ten years.”
Luciana B. Veit