Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Third Conversation is the Hardest

image courtesy of
 Two years ago this month I was back in the US, experiencing the adventure and the challenges of "home assignment." While I anticipated conversations with friends after years away would be difficult, I never guessed that it would actually be the third conversation that would be the most lonely. Although I don't plan on returning to the US until 2016, many of my friends are currently in the midst of this transition around the world.

The Third Conversation is the Hardest
I see your blurry face through the glass, door cracks open, and years
are squashed in our embrace, as dogs and children squall
welcome back! A bowl of snow peas from your new garden, new baby on your hip, new
job, and best friends curl on the couch together between
pieced pillows, shuttling questions like a tennis match.
Tell me all about it!

A few weeks later, an apple orchard reunion—filling our mouths
with Honeycrisp and Beautiful weather, isn’t it?
Did you have a nice holiday? And I tell you about falling off
sidewalks, and forgetting how to use self-checkouts in Walmart,
laughing together, juice running down our cheeks.

A month and 20 minutes until the concert starts, and together, suddenly
silent.  What to say now—the weather
 is still beautiful, your kitchen remodel
is still finished, your child
is still crawling. Conversation springs from shared
life and we are walls built on a common foundation
no longer touching. 

An armrest and countries apart, I rehearse small talk in my mind
searching for that first brick. Maybe
next week, we can talk about the concert?