Sometimes the absence of conversation is what you need. What you want.
“We” needed to be together and we had the time.
True. I was avoiding work, other things, but really, it was about "our" sweet friend needing us.
We live close, only 12 feet apart in some Chicago suburbs.
And Elizabeth, living next door, lost her son his first semester at college with no explanation or understandable reason. It just couldn’t be rationalized.
We offered ourselves to her.
The day after his services, we started one thing that lead to another.
On 11/23/2009, we started walking in a favorite forest preserve. It offered privacy.
We walked and listened. Monday-Friday. Every day. Rain or shine. We even bought “Yaktrax” for the ice and snow (sometimes 14+” deep).
We saw every season change. Amazing!
On 12/07/2009, we started playing.
Knocking on her front door, breaking silence, I asked Elizabeth if she was still interested. We’d always talked about learning to play Bridge. "I found a patient teacher!" A friend. “Getting the four of us to play is not a chore.”
Bridge is a game that takes years to master. It’s true. That didn’t matter.
We play once a week for as long as it takes.
We played this morning.
As much as we talk and listen while walking, "our Bridge" is about laughing at the game and how four bright people still don’t always “get” it. We talk about crappy cards, “2 Club” bids and who's in the lucky seat.
After 2.845 years, we still aren’t clear what we’re doing. We concentrate, re-hash and talk about what we coulda/shoulda/woulda...about Bridge!
And when our husbands come home and we’re still sitting at the kitchen table playing, they’ll ask “So what’d you talk about?”
The answer is always, “Nothing much.”
Because it’s nice NOT to talk about my memory issues, or someone's radiation treatments, M’s mom, or Elizabeth’s life that will never be the same.
We’re okay with just playing Bridge.