July 08, 2008

Time Marches On

Once in a lifetime, twice if you're lucky, you find that couple, of which your husband loves her husband and you love her husband and she and you are made for each other and she loves your husband and your kids are best friends. And then if you're REALLY lucky, like us, you get to live right next door to them for a year or so. And then if you're REALLY, REALLY lucky, like us, you're not only next-door neighbors, but your front doors are 20 feet apart and you share a wall. Apartment #1 and apartment #2, that was us. We talked every day and our kids played together many evenings a week. We spent Saturday mornings in our pj's, husbands included, eating fresh doughnuts from Paul's bakery.

Just one week into our stay in Orlando, we got a call that Darci's husband, Matt, had been offered his dream job an hour a way, and of course he accepted it. "I don't think we'll be moving out before you get home," Darci said on the phone. A week later, she called back and said that they were moving out the next day. We still had 2 1/2 weeks in Florida. I couldn't even talk to her because I was crying so hard. Though I knew we would see each other a few times before our big move to East Asia in August, our whole way of life with Matt and Darci and their kids was gone, and I didn't get a chance to say goodbye to it.

And now, as I think about pulling back into our apartment on Thursday, it pains me that apartment #1 will be empty and dark. Their bikes and scooters will not be leaning outside their door. There will be no "Welcome Home" sign on our door like there has been before.

And today, as I was driving in Orlando, I picked up my cell phone and dialed their old number, thinking it might still ring. But it didn't.

"The number you dialed is no longer in service," was all I heard on the other end. I laid the phone down and bit back the tears. Time really does march on.