A bright sunny Sunday is what everyone loves in England.
A cup of tea was what Stella Reynolds wanted to begin a lovely day. A hot steamy cup in her lovely garden made a perfect start of the day!
With water boiling in a kettle on her kitchen platform, Stella was ready with a tray of biscuits, milk, sugar and tea bag. Wrapped up nicely, Stella was gazing at her lovely garden from her kitchen window, beeped her smart phone - a Facebook friend request! Carefully pouring boiled water in the cup she carried her cell phone and tray, Stella strolled into the garden.
With a sip of refreshing tea, she checked FB invitation; it was Paula Baker, her beloved school friend. She quickly accepted her request which transported her 55 years back when she was 5 year old and it was the first time Stella and Paula had met! They were together for next 12 years of their school life, like soul mates.
Lost in her thoughts, Stella came back to senses with a ping on FB from Paula.
Paula: Hey Hun, how have you been?
Stella with a gorgeous smile: Not too bad, thank you. What a pleasant surprise! Where are you?
Paula: I was in Kenya for last 30 years. Now, in England for good
Stella: I am so happy to have you back in my life
Paula: Fancy meeting over lunch today at Boat Club? I am dying to meet you after ages.
Stella: Sure darling, I am in.
Paula: See you at 12'ish, Boat Club, City Centre - opposite to Primark…Xxx
Extremely happy about meeting her school friend, Stella finishes her cup of tea.
So far her Sunday has been exciting.
Boat Club is euphoric on Sundays. These two friends needed no time to identify each other. In their 60's they looked fabulous, smartly dressed and so young at heart. They spoke about career, Paula's life in Kenya, Stella's life in England.
Paula was happily married to Matt for 35 years and had 2 daughters. She couldn’t have asked for more.
'What about you Stella, did you find your Man?' questioned Paula.
Paula had an idea of failures with regards to relations in Stella’s life and Stella always chose not to speak about it, nothing like she was ashamed or embarrassed but some matters are best when unspoken!
Paula said, ‘It is a lonely world outside. We are connected with these modern social networks but yet don’t you feel the need to be with someone whom you can disturb anytime, share your sorrows and laughs? That someone with whom you have a glass of wine but no compulsion to speak a word…silence speaks a thousand words!’
‘Stella, I am worried about you, care for you. I know you are a strong woman but everyone wants to be loved, pampered and spoiled by someone special’, said Paula.
There was silence…awkward silence, not that Paula spoke out of her limits but something that was never asked to Stella before. Who would ask her? She had no one who cared for her. In this journey of life we meet many but how many etch a place in our heart? Certainly not everyone…very few…very very few!
Stella knew she needed to elaborate on this and she spoke her heart for the first time with great composure.
She said, 'I never saw a perfect relationship. At the age of 18, my Dad left for work and never came back. My Mum received divorce papers later. My mum wept her heart out and begged him to come back for me and my brother but he never bothered. This made me realise how irresponsible a ‘Man’ can be! I always knew their marriage was a compromise. My Mum lost her interest in us and her life. Rob, my brother grew up insensitive and immature. He had no one to guide him ever. He too left us and I don't know where he is. Rob could have made his life worthwhile, made us proud but he chose a wrong way. While I was coping with these tragedies of my life due to men, I met David, love of my life and later found him cheating on me. He already had a family but was attracted to me. I always thought if I was unlucky with men or men were unlucky for me. While I was coping with this I never knew that my colleague James at work was planning his promotion by portraying me as inefficient, feeble and unfit for the post. Each time I knew I was right but I suffered because I was knowingly and unknowingly dealing with wrong men. A series of such incidents in my life made me think if I really needed a ‘Man’ to complete me and my life? An irresponsible father, a careless brother, a selfish lover and an opportunist friend – all Men, can’t be a coincidence!’
Stella then cheekily said, 'I don’t generalise that all Men are mean and imperfect but the more I know of the world, the more I am convinced that I shall never see a man whom I can really love. I require so much!’
Paula laughed out with teary eyed and said, ‘I am glad that you are still open about this and may you find one soon’.
As they were busy sharing their emotional laugh, beeped Paula’s phone, a message from her younger daughter, Katie.
Very hurriedly she searches for the phone in her handbag and finds it, puts on her glasses and reads:
Katie: Mum, when are you coming home? I need your little help. It is my first date today evening, what should I wear?
Paula: I will be there in an hour
Keeping her phone back in her turquoise handbag, Paula with a sigh says, ‘Well, Katie needs me and I have to leave but it was really nice meeting you’.
Stella with a grin said, ‘Indeed. I am so proud of you on being such a doting mother’.
‘Life teaches you everything. It puts you in a situation and gives that courage to face it as well. It was never easy to live in Kenya with no family and friends around but we survived and eventually evolved as a strongly bonded family’, said Paula. She continued, ‘Different people, different culture and so many challenges! There were times when I wanted to come back but I took it as a challenge and when I look back, I feel proud for what I achieved. I have evolved as a wonderful person. Raising two daughters was emotionally challenging as well but how beautifully I and Matt did it, is what counts. I am lucky to have him in my life. We have had our differences but they sublimed'.
She gently placed her hand on Stella’s and said, ‘Not all Men are imperfect and I am sure you will find someone who would change your every perception’.
Stella knew that Paula cares for her. They both re-discovered a soul mate in each other.
They both enjoyed their salad lunch and it was indeed a perfect Sunday! It never felt that this was their lunch after ages.
Such is friendship - distance, age and relations never affect it. Friends are forever.
If this story of mine has made you miss a dear friend of yours then call her/him and say that you still care for them!