In the midst of a busy week I caught up with Mary for coffee. It had been in the diary for quite a while. We live in the same town. We very occasionally meet by chance. Usually on the station platform, which may give rise to a full half hour of chat on the train. An unexpected bonus, even if I had planned some reading time on the journey.
We first met as school gate mothers, finding a bond through our daughters. The girls have largely gone separate ways, simply through the progression of life. As empty nesters, we made an active choice to remain friends.
Having pre-arranged meetings is not quite the same as that regular quick chat in the school yard waiting for the release of the children. But, we are developing the art of sitting for an hour or more over a single cup of coffee. There is a quality to the time we spend together, unhurried, both in the moment, enjoying the luxury of shared pontification.
The agenda rarely revolves totally around our offspring. It is just as likely to feature books or articles that we’ve read; and, as depressed Guardian readers, to shoot off in tangents of despair when we cover the state of the political environment.
For me, the best feature of my friendship with Mary is that our talk is never competitive. We do not try to the busiest, the highest achieving or to have the most successful offspring. We have different interests: she does not run and has never been to the gym. She loves solitude and I am always flattered that she wants to spend time with me. What we share is a desire to see the funny side of any circumstance. Aging with Mary is great fun; by degrees we are turning into wise old women (WOW) and I hope that together we can laugh our way through the next decade.