Manda sat at a small round table in the corner of the café. At first, she didn’t recognize the tired looking woman who rushed in through the door. The woman looked around, pushing a strand of hair away from her puffy face. When she saw Manda she let out a high pitched sound and made her way over to the table, not even noticing that she pushed an elderly man to the side.
“There you are, how lovely to see you!”
Manda stood up to give Lindsey a hug, but Lindsey stayed on the other side of the table and gave Manda a quick kiss on the cheek instead, leaving a faint smell of perfume in the air.
“I can’t believe we haven’t seen each other for so long”, Lindsey said as she sat down. “But it’s really crazy you know. My work keeps expanding. I got promoted, did I tell you that? It’s great, it really is, but there is no way I can manage everything in normal work hours. So, after I pick up the girls from school, bring them to their activities and make dinner – I log in again. It’s crazy, it really is. Did I tell you that my youngest started piano lessons? It takes an hour to drive there, but I really wanted her to have the best teacher you know? We all want our best for our children, don’t we?”
Manda was about to answer, but she closed her mouth when she noticed that Lindsey was not ready to listen. She needed to talk.
“I really wish we could meet more often Manda, I really do. Being with you always calms me down you know? But I just can’t find the time to meet my friends. I am always chasing my tail. There is always something to do, always something at work or with the kids. And I always come last you know. Don’t you have that? You look so calm, I don’t get it. And you look young. When I looked at myself this morning I almost screamed, I thought my mum was in the bathroom. I look ten years older than you do! I don’t get enough sleep, I know I don’t. And I make sure the kids train and everything, but there is just no time for me to train. Do you still go to that yoga class once a week?”
Manda nodded. Lindsey sighed.
“I wish I could do that too. But, you know, my husband and I. We are having some issues. So, I just don’t have any energy, even if I could find the time. You know what I mean?”
Manda shook her head. She didn’t want to nod and go along. She didn’t want Lindsey to think her life was normal. Manda asked how her daughters were.
“They are doing great you know, the oldest just started studying Chinese on top of the normal curriculum. I told her she doesn’t have to, she doesn’t have to be so over-ambitious. I told her to enjoy life a bit more, while she is young. But she doesn’t seem to listen.”
“She is listening alright. Not to your words, but to all the things you do.”
Lindsey looked confused.
“What do you mean?”
Manda put her warm hand on Lindsey’s. It was shaking.
“If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. Take care of you, and your kids will be just fine."
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