I met her when I was about to get into our car, which was parked on the street beside her house. She was getting her mail.
I smiled and said, “Hi,” and Mary replied with her own smiling “Hi.”
We began to talk more each time our paths crossed until one day, she invited me in for lemonade. It was summertime. Hot. Humid. And I was pregnant. I already had a two year old son and Mary had a son – eighteen months old. We had a lot in common.
We soon became good friends. Some afternoons, she came to my house and our boys played while we had something to drink and conversation. Or I went to hers and we did the same. Every so often, in the evening, when our husbands were home, the four of us got together and talked, enjoyed a snack and watched a little TV while the boys played.
It was a nice relationship.
In August, when I went to the hospital to have my baby, Mary came to visit me. She brought me a beautiful yellow rose. Nurses thought we were sisters. They said we looked alike. I took that as a compliment.
Mary was very pretty! She had dark, curly, shoulder length hair, fair skin and sky blue eyes. Her ready smile exposed perfect white teeth. And she was as sweet as she was pretty! I couldn’t find one thing wrong with her.
I hoped we’d always be friends, but it wasn’t to be.
One day, out of the blue, she broke the news that her husband, Ben, had been transferred. They had to move away.
That was a sad day! We both shed a few tears. I’d never had a friend quite like Mary. It’s hard to explain our friendship. Although it was short, it was different. Reliable.
After they were gone, we wrote letters (this was before the days of e-mail and unlimited phone service), sent Christmas cards and birthday cards for a few years – and then we started receiving and sending them further and further apart until we slowly lost touch altogether.
When I think of Mary, I remember this familiar quote:
“Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for a while and leave footprints on our hearts. And we are never, ever the same.”