My granddaughter, Ella, had a friend over. “Let’s play house,” she said. “You be my next-door neighbor and I’ll make us some coffee.”
I peeked over the book I was reading and watched her arrange her pink, mini tea set and pour imaginary cups of coffee. Her friend sampled a pretend cookie. “These are so good,” she remarked.
“I baked them yesterday,” Ella said. “I had to hide them from my babies.”
Later that afternoon, I dropped in on a lady-friend I had met online.
“I was about to make a fresh pot of coffee,” Angela said. “Would you like some?”
I parked myself at the table and watched her stoke the coffee maker then set out cups, saucers, napkins and sugar. From the cupboard, she pulled out a tin of cookies with a laughing Santa on the top. “I made these last night,” she said, lips pursed in a private thought, all but adding, ‘in the hopes that you soon would appear.’ Or maybe I was just flattering myself?
I nodded appreciatively over a bite of macadamia nut and white chocolate cookie. Caught her eye. So much left unsaid of the rip-tide of spouses and childrearing, hormonal tyranny, work-life and budgets in each of our pasts. Circling in the eddy of now, we were content to simply be with each other.
I got up, walked over to her. She kept her eyes lowered, pretending not to notice me at her side. I gently cupped her chin and gave her a warm, soft kiss. Angela sighed, looked me in the eyes and asked, “What was that other thing we used to do, back in the day?”
I laughed. She grinned. See, that’s what I like about her. She keeps it light, real, and in touch with the child-in-us ‘playing house.’ Maybe even ‘playing doctor’?