Upon returning from an ordinary shopping trip to the nearest other small town, I turned to my friend who was driving her car with great composure, we saw each other, yet spoke no word, an unusual pause for us. Words retreated to the shade of our throats; to rest awhile as our eyes focused on the hidden years of forgotten joy washed away by inevitable flash floods of tears.
I found myself slipping into a light blue mood somewhere between grey sky and green lawns. Her absent voice resonating in the hollow heart of the small vehicle, the space filled with a blanket of forgiveness that permeated our common area; we were daughters, we were mothers, women of trust and tedium.
‘Twelve years’, she said’ and not a single tear, then last week’ she confided her impulse to spontaneously allow herself to grieve a flow of what she hesitated to feel as forgiveness;. a strange quietude filling her profile as she drove with hands on the wheel and mind in the past; oddly present, mostly whole.
A rare calm brushed over the day, I knew that the moment would hang about us, unspoken between calls to needs and chores of a tidy life, separate, disparate, yet held aloft by silk threads of a strong yet gentler nature. Trials and trauma swept aside for the passage of our present necessities, we walked in diverse aisles of commercial must; obeying the do, the don’t of shopping lists, and as we resurfaced, we saw in each other the wounded animal, the tender child we had been, and we knew that we had come to the traverse where the road forks away from pain.
Away from years we drag, tears we dry before they swell. Gutted from the spent drama, we fell softly into the routine of cathartic consumption, the food of our days, the taste of common delights affordable to the means of ordinary women in an extraordinary mood. We ditched our worn out truths with a fork, and poked fun at the small miseries of a miserable age in times of televised troubles and never ending wars; we were free.
Free from the need to forgive, free to give the past permission to exit at the nearest overpass. We shook our heads in sympathy for worn out emotions and basked in empathetic acceptance. She reached out to the memory of her own mother, within the depth of her gaze. I silently laid mine to rest across the ocean, inhaling the vapors of one single tear on the car window toward my present world.