"We are old! Like those women we used to laugh at!". I drink my beer and get another. She asks me if I do not care. "Why should I? I can't wait for it to be all over, frankly speaking, the sooner, the better. I am not so fond of life" I say. She hisses at me.She invites me back to a country I left six years ago. She paints a very appealing picture. Just the two of us, hitting the pubs, laughing like maniacs and eating noodles in the mornings, then she spoils it all by saying "we are fucking old!"
She doesn't look old. She is beautiful. We laugh, drink and gossip about everybody we know. Our lives are all different. Just one person got married among the old group."Its because he is catholic" she says. He married "the Bulgarian girl". I have no idea who that is. I am still recovering from the shock of not seeing the woman I thought was his "great love" beside him in those pictures. I tell her I almost had a heart attack. "Everybody is getting old, of course he has to get married". I explain that the heart attack was not for the marriage but for the woman. She says the woman I know has not been in the picture for years. I sigh.
Then we drink some more and she tells me that I should come for a visit. We'll do the pubs...and this time, the young girls will laugh at us.
She is impressed I do not smoke anymore, I am impressed that she does. I stand outside with her in the cold as she smokes. For a moment, I thought I would cry but I don't. I hug her like I will see her tomorrow and I walk home, humming "Hotel California" all the way. I wonder if she still knows all the words...she always sang along when it came on. Everybody did.