There are five houses on my road, including mine. Today, one neighbour, a woman studying for her PhD, invited myself and the women from two of the other houses over for afternoon tea. This is not a regular occurance, but she thought it would be nice to have us over before school began and things became hectic again. Her house is an architectural wonder of the world. Beyond my ability to describe, but needless to say, it has been showcased in television shows and architecture magazines. Her husband is an art historian who teaches at a local college. They are warm and welcoming people, with two children.
I arrived with my son, who quickly took off with theirs, scurrying into the basement to do who knew what.
The next woman to arrive is a Sunday school teacher, a deeply religious woman who has a daughter packing to leave for university and an autistic son who is going into junior high. She is a delightful and warm person, someone you can talk to forever, listening to her calm soothing voice. She brought her photo album of the things that they had done over this past summer.
The other woman to arrive is recently separated from her husband and it shows. Bitterness dripped from her being for the first two hours she was there, but it slowly slipped away, and her honesty came to be a breath of fresh air. Her children are teenagers, and staying with her husband for now. She is an artist, with a studio set up in her house.
We ate sweets and drank cupfulls of coffee and tea. Every one of us has children moving into new stages of their lives...this will be the first year of elementary school, of junior highschool, of University. We spoke of art and travel, of family and the relevance of different aspects of education. We watched the children as they swooped in to snatch a cookie, our friends' autistic son, who without notice, plucked a banana from the woman's kitchen, practically sat on top of me on the couch and munched loudly while we talked.
The children ran on the beach, finding crabs and countless other treasures, my son slipping in and getting soaked to his waist.
Written by Cathy