We agreed to meet at a Middle Eastern restaurant in the city’s midtown, a small place where tables are close together, a place where the servers lift a glass water jug that looks like a magic lamp high up over their shoulder to stream water into your glass, a small place where the tabouleh and hummus are only slightly less than perfect.
We hadn’t seen each other, hadn’t talked with one another in years.
She almost looked the same: Same smile. Same red hair. Same hands. Same laugh. Slimmer than before. A shade of serious around her eyes and mouth that wasn’t there before. We jumped in and got caught up. Jobs. Life. Loves. Meaning. There were lots of Me too! We laughed when we discovered we drove the same kind of car and had the same stories about it.
I’d forgotten that her eyes were dark brown. I’d forgotten how easily she flustered and I’d forgotten how easily I teased her about everything and how that made her laugh.
In between bites of food we talked about life and work. She and her husband are planning to leave Canada in a few years. Over coffee we talked about creating a home and a space to escape the mad, mad, wonderful world. In time, the evening came to a natural end and with warm hugs and smiles and promises, we said goodbye.
Later that night, snuggled and cuddled, I fell asleep to images of servers making light and magic with water jugs and laughter. The next morning, I wrote her a note:
“It is an understatement to say that it was great to see you and how curious it was — it seems the years melted away over the course of the dinner. Was it really that long ago? What a lovely evening. Thank you :-).”
She answered me.
“Frances I want us to stay in touch always. I am feeling very melancholy today as a result of our get-together. Most likely hormones :). Have a nice weekend.”
Oh. Well, now. Let’s see.
Hormones. Well, hormones are hormones and sometimes a brain under the influence of those hormones can take a mind to places that it typically doesn’t ever go and once there, unleash feelings and emotions that are generally kept in check, under wraps, harnessed, hidden from view or completely unknown. Sometimes and for some women, such is the power of hormones.
Always. A word that can be applied to physics, thermodynamics, electromagnetism, quantum mechanics and maybe even blacksmithing, however, it can’t be applied to feelings. It was hard not to raise a Zen eyebrow at such a term.
As it turned out, my weekend was nice and when Monday morning rolled around, I responded to her.
“Hormones are odd, pesky things sometimes, aren’t they? I’m sorry to hear that you’re feeling melancholy and hope that (a) it’s a bittersweet melancholy as opposed to a sad and sombre melancholy, and (b) that the outcome/direction of it becomes clear for you sooner rather than later.”
She wrote back, “More bittersweet and reminiscent, nothing a nice glass of wine won’t cure.”
I didn’t ask what she needed to have cured.