Lucy sat in the corner, quietly out of the way, sipping her latte.
Her gaze lifted to watch a group of women laughing, as they gathered in the sun by the window. She yearned for moments like this and she watched on longingly.
One lady smiled as she was handed a bunch of flowers, maybe it was her birthday, it seemed they had gathered in honour of her.
Lucy’s own heart developed that familiar ache and deep loneliness swept her back to reality.
If only I was her, Lucy thought.
She imagined this woman’s life filled with parties, endless dinners and holidays with her friends to exotic locations.
If only I was her.
Lucy returned to fiddling on her phone, cursing Facebook and the sea of smiling faces staring back from the screen. Selfies and group selfies taken in stunning locations. Everyone having fun, their lives filled with party dresses, gourmet meals and sunny days on the beach.
If only I was one of them.
Lucy gathered her handbag and headed for the seclusion of the park. Nestling in to a shady spot under a tree, the gentle breeze offering comfortable relief from the building heat of the day. She lifted her new book from her bag and the corners of her mouth lifted slightly in anticipation.
She drifted off to a new fantasy land, a delicious world of fiction and the pages turned quickly as she dreamt of a more glamorous life.
If only I was in this story.
The sobbing caught her attention then she saw a woman hunched over, her shoulders heaving as she dabbed at her nose with a soggy tissue. She was frantically scrambling through her handbag searching for a fresh one.
Lucy reached into her bag and grabbed a packet of tissues before walking over to the woman to offer a simple gesture of kindness. As she approached, the woman slowly lifted her mascara smeared face and she recognised her instantly as the birthday girl from the cafe. Her beautiful flowers now lying abandoned on the ground beside her.
Lucy offered an obligatory “are you okay”, thinking clearly she was as she had been laughing and smiling earlier.
The next few minutes were to change Lucy’s life forever.
The woman explained how her husband had been killed one year ago today in a tragic car accident. He had lingered in a coma for weeks never regaining consciousness. Her concerned friends had rallied today, begging her to meet them for breakfast and allowing them to offer comfort and companionship on this terribly difficulty day. She was now on her way to the cemetery, a trip she has made every single day for the past year.
Lost for words and stunned by this news, Lucy managed to stammer out a hollow compliment to the woman’s friends, while hinting at the laughter she had envied earlier.
The woman explained it was the first time she had laughed since the accident. How she had begun to smile again only a few weeks ago. She was genuinely relieved as she recalled days when she truly believed she would never smile again.
She had faith that one day her laugher and her smiles would once again outweigh her tears. Just not today.
After a moment of contemplative silence the woman looked at Lucy and said. “I noticed you as I entered the park, so deeply engrossed in your book. You looked peaceful, calm and serene. For just a moment I thought to myself, if only I was her.”
“Then I remembered a brief moment is never a true reflection of someones full story and I have my own unique journey, my own story to live.”
“As difficult as this past year has been this is my life and I would never want to be anyone else.”
Lucy left the park that day ready to live and love her own life.