When you live far away from your friends’ stagnation takes place. They only ever see you for who you were, not who you have become.
“You look so good,” Lizzy says.
“So do you!” I lie. Was she lying when she said it to me?
“How is everything going?”
“Oh you know,” there’s no way to answer the question appropriately that isn’t “good, you?”
“Yeah great, how’s Jordan?”
“Yeah good, he’s loving his new job.” This conversation is slowly killing me from boredom. I have had this exact conversation a million times. I’m not a good friend. I don’t keep in touch regularly. I don’t like to pry into people’s personal lives, which could seem as though I’m uninterested. I tend toward quiet observer over active member of a conversation, which is probably pretty frustrating. Gosh why did she even want to catch up with me?
“How is everyone?” I ask.
“Oh good. Chris has a new boyfriend. Matt is the same, never texts back, barely know really. Oh and Penny is a mess.”
“Is she okay?”
“She’s fucking a married man.”
“It’s disgusting to be honest and she’s been wearing way too much makeup it’s gross.” I look at Lizzy whose own attempts at covering spots and eyeliner are dismal and don’t take her at her word.
“And Matt, he said we were going to be God parents and then didn’t invite us to the Christening! Can you believe it?”
“Oh wow,” I say. I can believe it. They have always done something wrong. I remember why I don’t seek out Lizzy’s company as often as I think I should. She’s either mean or just bored, I can’t decide.
People get mad when you can’t read through their relaxed façade into their specific needs. Just tell me what you want.
Jordan and I load our bags and presents into the jeep. It’s Christmas Eve and we’re heading out to the Bach. I spent the day mainly with Dad just pottering about the house. Dad hands Jordan the keys.
“You guys be careful on those roads out by Waipatiki. Those corners can be dangerous.”
“We will dad,” I give him a kiss on the cheek.
“Hey Terry, what time is the lunch tomorrow?” Jordan asks.
“It’ll be around two, we’ll get there early to help set up but I imagine it’ll run quite late.”
“Cool,” I say. “We’ll get there around three, probably. Have a few pit-stops to make, you know the deal.”
“Yup. Sounds good.” He kisses my cheek. “Love you.”
“Love you, bye.”
We’re off. The sun is shining high in the sky and I am taken over by a feeling of freedom. The drive out to Waipatiki is a nice one. Drive on the main road out of Napier in the direction of Taupo and take a turn off by some quaint wineries. After that it’s sprawling hillsides, little farms, big lifestyle blocks, sheep and cows. As we wind around the top of one of the hills you can see the sea and it is a breathtaking blue. We pull up the drive to the little house and the kids come running out to greet us.
“Hi!” Sophia, who is small and blond, screams at us.
“Hi guys” I smile back at them. I see them eye the bag of presents greedily and laugh. Molly who was too cool to talk to me before has changed her tune, probably because there’s no Wi-Fi out here.
“Hey little blister” I respond. They escort us inside where mum is in the kitchen wearing a flowing kaftan. She looks a lot happier.
“Hey mum.” We exchange a kiss on the cheek.
“Man it is so hot here!” I exclaim.
“Shall we go for a swim?” Mum asks.
“Yeah!” I’m excited. “Is the water nice?”
“Yeah I’ve been for a couple of dips today. It’s so relaxing out here.”
We take our bags to our room and get changed quickly. The kids, Mum, Jordan, Witchy and I stroll toward the beach. The sand is so hot and the sea is refreshingly cold.