’Mom, I can’t see a thing ’ said Karen as she tried to blink her wide eyes and strained to see ahead of her in the darkness that had set in due to a sudden breakdown of power. It was a complete blackout and three year old Karen only could stand on the railing of the small balcony and sing all the nursery rhymes she knew.
’Mary had a little lamb,’ sang Karen, as her mother put on the socks for her as it was a little chilly. ’little lamb little lamb’ echoed back a voice. Karen started giggling listening to the echo of her own song. Karen’s mom Rachel asked her to sing again and again came back a voice echoing down. Rachel realized that the voice was coming from the neighboring house and she heard a lot of commotion there. Rachel’s house was the last in the street and there were five such houses on the same street.. The voices were coming from the house next door. There was a common fence separating their houses and this was quite intriguing indeed that one could hear the voices so closely from the neighboring house.
Days passed and Karen used to sing a song and there was a child in the adjacent apartment that used to finish it. School started and Karen held her mother’s hand closely. She was scared to go in, but she had to and Rachel tried her best to fight back the tears. Her small innocent one was away to school amongst absolute strangers. She was worried how she would be and with this look of anxious thoughts she was walking down when she saw a female standing with her and straining to send her son. The mother and son had reached late and they had to rush in literally.
’Where do you stay? ’ asked Rachel as their eyes met. A few more such mundane questions and the two females realized that they stayed adjacent to each other and realized that the noises they heard the e other day was that of Karen and this boy Richard.
Soon enough both these women became very good friends and with time passing with their leaving their kids to school and them having to strain their neck to talk to each other, they decided to do away with the fence between their houses and pushed it behind towards the wall. The space between the fence and the wall gave them lot of reasons to be happy about. They could sit there, eat there, talk there and soon enough this became the favorite haven for both the families.
Rachel and Laura the two women found solace in their company as they had many things in common. Soon this bloomed into a close friendship and as the children grew, so did their togetherness. Laura lived with her husband’s parents and Rachel had her mother in law with her. Soon the window sill became a major hubbub of activity and Reginald and Gary Rachel and Laura’s husbands soon gave up on even expecting that they would get time from their wives as both women used to share everything between them over a cup of tea, or lunch or dinner on the window sill.
Rachel got pregnant again and due to complications was laid to rest. Laura could no longer rely on Rachel for things like picking and dropping Gary’s parents, helping to take them to the hospital, or getting something along with Rachel. As Rachel lay down on her bed now as part of her bed rest she was reminded of one such evening when Laura had called her to the window sill and had broken down crying. Rachel shuddered now as she thought of how Laura told her that she had a kind of phobia which did not allow her to feel safe anywhere she went. Rachel assured her that she would accompany her always wherever she went and thus when Rachel was in bed, Laura found it difficult to cope up with going somewhere alone. Rachel lay back and thought of the times when Laura’s in laws used to get down from the train and Rachel used to escort them to the cab and help them back home. There were times when Rachel was tied up with work yet she never refused to accompany Laura whenever she needed it.
Time passed, Rachel had a bonny boy, and now there were more children to play with! Whenever Rachel needed anything she used to ask Laura, and whenever Laura needed even something as small as a piece of white paper, she used to ask Rachel. The Rachel Laura saga continued till such a time that Laura got into a new firm and got newer friends. Gradually this duo separated and they went about their ways. They used to meet for Easter, Christmas, Halloween etc and have loads of fun.
Soon the children were grown up and they were ready t o attend High School. Rachel and Laura went together everywhere and found the best institutes for their children. Reginald and Gary were relaxed as they knew their wives could handle everything. There was no relation like theirs and it was enviable.
Years passed and Gary’s parents departed for the heavenly abode. Rachel and Laura got busy with their other interests and their circle of friends also changed. Once Laura did not call Rachel for a long time and Rachel wondered where she could be. Later on she came to know that Laura’s family had gone to Costa Rica. Rachel was slightly disappointed as Laura never told her they were going. Rachel felt left out and opened her heart out to her other friends. They pacified her saying that maybe Laura never meant it to be that way but it happened.
After some days Mrs. Claire had a tea party. She ordered for some croissants and muffins and chose to keep it entirely different. Here Laura told the rest of them that she was to undergo a major open heart surgery. Rachel was a little taken aback as Laura had not mentioned this to her in so many of their meetings. To tell it to others and not tell her and for her to know something about Laura in public rather than from her, disappointed her. Rachel let it pass and on the day of the operation was very much with Laura. There was a huge lump in her heart which had to be removed and the nurse came and showed the lump to Rachel and her other friends who were with her. The nurse asked to take a photo if required for future reference. Rachel took the photo and told Laura’s daughter that she would send it later to her.
The operation was successful and Rachel came back home and continued with her other chores. Her husband had just recovered from a major illness and needed lot of care. Rachel’s daughter had to join the University and son had to reach High School. The day over and Rachel settled to read a book at night. Her phone beeped with a message and Rachel saw it was only a push message. She suddenly realized she had to send the photo to Laura’s daughter’s phone. Hurriedly she chose the picture and sent it. Just as she sent it she realized that the photo had got uploaded in a group chat that was open in Rachel’s phone. Holy Angel! Now what! The group would see the photo and Rachel’s mind raced how she could undo what she had done. She saw the time. It was 1 in the night. Not the right time to go to someone’s house. But she had to as Laura would see it the next day otherwise.
Rachel could not leave her home and let Reginald be alone as he needed people always. Yet she decided the best thing she could do was get hold of the other people in the group where the photo had get uploaded and ask them to delete the photo which was anyway of no consequence. The entire night Rachel was trying to set things right and she did and spoke to Laura’s daughter too asking her to check at home.
Time passed Rachel remembered the night with a shudder and also told Laura’s friends not to tell her about it and that Rachel would herself tell Laura at the right time maybe within a month.Tears exchanged and hugs given out, and lot of things to share, Laura was brought into the house. Rachel had a handful of work and she felt she should tell Laura about the grave mistake that they had done. However she pushed it aside as moved on. Rachel got busy with her work and was busy making her son enter the best High School with proper luggage. Time passed and few months edged by. Rachel went on a family vacation and came back. She brought a gift for Laura and gave it to her.
Laura was furious. Rachel was a little at a loss to know what was amiss. Later it came to light that Laura had come to know about Rachel’s’ fatal error on the phone – the picture that she had sent by mistake. Rachel felt miserable that she had forgotten to tell her dearest friend about it. She apologized and also tried to make up with a basket of flowers. She told Laura how much she meant to her, but Laura would have none of it. She had lost faith in the relation, all due to a single message. Friendships are meant to be tied and held firm with faith, affection and warmth and not through technology and machines.
World would be a better place if Rachel and Laura had learnt to move on. Today they are stagnated in the quagmire of doubt, mistrust and refusal.
Life is short, and Rachel and Laura could be any of us. It is important for us to know that life is too short, let us live it happily and without any qualms. Forget, forgive and move on. Life is a gift, let us unwrap it with care