by Maggie Scout

I have introduced myself. You have introduced yourself. This is a very good conversation. ~ Katsumoto, The Last Samurai

They were two silver-haired ladies, still stylish and still a little mischievous.

Kate and Lizzie could no longer be described as young but that didn’t matter, at least not to them.  It neither hindered nor worried them for they were also formidable and wise, vivacious and free.  Forces of nature some might say.

A lifetime ago they embarked on life’s rollercoaster knowing only too well that the presence of vulnerability and fragility would accompany them forever.  They would come to know feelings of exhilaration and excitement and the adrenalin rush that makes the heart beat faster and faster; fight or flight.  The fear and the tummy flips, the nausea, the holding on so tightly that knuckle bones are displayed and close to bursting through the skin.  The need to trust and rely on something other than self and the tears and relief knowing that, for another day, survival was to be permitted.

Life’s experiences: unique, precious and detailed.  Stories: not to be challenged or touched.  And never dismissed.

Today was a milestone.  Lizzie had some news and wanted to share it.

Kate’s squeals erupted.  Tears of happiness streamed down her face and she squeezed her friend so tight Lizzie thought she might pop.

Lizzie’s going to be published! 

It would seem that life had been breathed into Lizzie’s girlhood dream of being an author and it was closer to taking flight than she could ever have imagined.  She couldn’t contain her excitement and why should she.  But all she could think of saying was:

Definitely something to tick off that bucket list!

Kate and Lizzie had been friends after a comical first encounter had brought them together almost fifty years ago now.  A long time to be a friend.  They reminisced but this wasn’t a day for reality checks and things forgotten or lost.  Today was memorable and magical.  Today a dream was born and everyone celebrated.

Lizzie sat for a while after Kate left.

She understood her friend’s need to be doing things.  Kate always had a schedule, a list of sorts and meetings to attend for one of the many groups she volunteered with.  There was always something to do for The Rural or The Festival Group or the Church office where she helped out.  But today was her aqua aerobics day and Lizzie couldn’t help but smile.  She pictured Kate, leading the way, at the forefront of other women of a certain age.  All shapes and sizes, in swimsuits with some wearing hats to keep their hair in place for another day, bobbing up and down in the pool, stretching, running, pushing against the water, in time to music of a different era.  All desperately trying to follow the instructions of a much younger version of themselves with the additional extras of makeup, lycra and a body that was fit for public viewing.  More comical Kate moments.

Lizzie had a gentler approach to life.  She preferred to linger in the moment allowing her senses free rein to attune to the surroundings and to the thoughts in her head.  Sifting and sorting, organising and refreshing.  Unrushed.  Missing nothing.  Always time.

More tea Lizzie?

Yes please Alice.  The meringues were delicious! 

I wasn’t too sure at first.  I think I’m more of a sponge kinda person.  I was going to ask you about meringues … your secret weapon!

They both laughed.

No secret Alice, just practice.  She winked.

What’s the book about Lizzie?

Thin places.

Alice felt a sudden tugging at her heart and looked up.

I think I’ll need a spare cup. 

She looked around.  There was little noise.  And like slow motion Alice located a cup and saucer from the shelf, pulled back a chair and sat, taking her place beside Lizzie.  She poured them both a fresh cup of Earl Grey tea and with elbows on the table she rested her chin on her hands.

She knew this would be a good conversation.