When Lydia awoke
|Oops, I misread the prompt. Sorry. I'll post what I have anyway. It's a bit of flash fic.|
When Lydia awoke this morning, she was filled with a mix of anticipation and apprehension. Janie was coming – arriving on Air Canada 211 at 11:40 from Calgary.
They’d known each other since junior high – inseparable despite radically different personalities. Janie was the wild child – extroverted and opinionated; Lydia - quiet and prone to introspection. From the outside, the only thing they had in common were their green eyes. What others didn’t realize was that they complemented and balanced each other. They were able to confide the deepest most intimate secrets to each other.
Their lives, not surprisingly, had taken different paths. Janie had moved to Toronto for university and Lydia had stayed in Vancouver. Not that they hadn’t tried to keep in touch. The first year, they wrote each other every month, then it gradually tapered off to a couple times a year, then only a few lines on a Christmas card. They completely lost touch after each had moved several times in the intervening years.
Lydia had married her high school, football captain sweetheart. She’d started dating Jeff in grade ten after he gave her a ride home from a fundraising event jointly held by the football jocks and the choir. They were another unlikely pair. After the wedding, Jeff went on to dental school while she worked as a teacher’s aide. When Jeff graduated, he set up his dental practice and they settled into the upscale neighbourhood of Kerrisdale. Shortly afterwards they had two children – a boy and a girl. How corny was that?
Janie, on the other hand, had lived the bohemian lifestyle of a student while getting a degree in Fine Arts. At some point, she decided her degree wouldn’t get her a job that paid enough to finance a love of art, travel and clothes. She went back to school and got a degree in business admin and marketing. Straight out of the U of Toronto, she got a job at a high-powered marketing firm in downtown TO. For four years, she climbed the corporate ladder - travel plans put on hold – as she lived the executive high life of expense accounts, fine dining and hobnobbing with Toronto society. It seemed she was being groomed for a shot at buying into the firm’s partnership. That is, until she met, and shortly thereafter, married the CEO of one of their clients. She quit her job and settled into a four bedroom executive home in Oakville. When Lydia heard about her friend settling into suburbia, she couldn’t believe it. No way would the Janie she knew want a house, kids and “suburban hell” (as she would not so delicately put it). Janie assured her it was what she wanted.
Anyways, they hadn’t seen, spoken or heard from each other in fifteen years. It was only by a fortuitous coincidence, they connected again on the internet. They’d both started weblogs - Lydia, calling herself, Deeyah - and Janie, now calling herself Jane. Independently following links and comments on various blogs, they recognized similar references to their high school. It was Janie, who first asked, “what year did you graduate?” It didn’t take more than a few emails to fill in the rest.
They corresponded and chatted back and forth for several months, catching up on their lives. Both were divorced – Janie twice. Lydia had remained in and around Vancouver, while Janie had moved from Toronto to Montreal to New York, back to Toronto then to Calgary where she now lived. Both had two children – all of them grown, moved out and independent.
Today, they would see each other again. What if they didn’t like each other anymore? What if they had nothing in common? What if this meeting was a big mistake? What if, what if, what if . . . . They’d both find out soon enough.
Waiting in the baggage claims area, Lydia scanned the arriving passengers. Janie said she’d be wearing a camel, mid-calf length coat with red scarf. Who knew if they’d recognize each other through the extra pounds, lines and years? Best to have something identifiable to avoid any embarrassing hugs with complete strangers. Lydia was wearing the West Coast uniform of jeans, T-shirt and jean jacket.
Lydia spotted the red scarf first, then the unmistakable long-loped stride of her friend. Peering through the people in front of her, it took Janie a few seconds to respond to Lydia’s frantic waving. With a flash of recognition and big grin, she strode straight over to engulf Lydia in a bear hug. They stood back, looked at each other and laughed. All the years melted away; the extra pounds didn’t matter; the extra lines didn’t matter; only the eyes mattered – they were exactly the same.