"Here she comes, the uber mother with six ducklings in tow", I think to myself. "Why did I agree to this? Coffee with the queen of Schaedenfraude"
I hate reunions, even something as simple as meeting a former classmate for coffee. I hate the bug under the microscope, let's see how the weird girl turned out, sick to my stomach feeling I get. I hate the small talk, the searching for a common bond that does not exist beyond the fact that we happened to be in the same school, at the same time, on the same planet. Unfortunately, we bumped into each other at Eyemundsen's Books.
I should have said "No, sorry, too busy" and walked away. But no, I was polite and agreed to meet for coffee at Hotel Borg.
"Soley, there you are, I almost missed you hiding over there!"
"I'm in center at a table for ten, Janette, I'd hardly call that hiding."
"Let me get the little ones settled," she said as she began to arrange her children around the table. "I love this place, it makes me feel young and trendy again."
"Oh yes, got to be young and trendy again. Do you think we'll be young and trendy again if we come here in our 80's, Janette?"
"You haven't lost your sense of humour, Soley"
and you still cannot distinguish sarcasm, I thought.
Janette filled me in on the latest news of our former classmates. It seems she is the CIA/Gladys Kravitz of our school. If you need to know anything about anyone, chances are she has a dossier on them.
Except for me. It turns out my travels and frequent moves have kept me off her radar screen. My own little cloak of invisibility. Bjorney has been a big help. She has come by his boat and house many times over the years to ask what I was up to, did he finally marry me?
He'd reply with the same answer everytime.
"No idea, haven't seen her in forever"
She tried getting info from my parents. Dad would look at her, stern faced and say "We do not know where she is, we haven't heard from her in ages."
We all found it amusing considering I was either on the boat or in the house on several of her fact finding trips.
"So, I have heard rumours about you, Soley, and I have been dying to find out if they are true. People do ask about you, you are something of a mystery to them."
"Ask away, just don't let the Lilliputions tie me up and poke me with pointy sticks." I reply looking at the kids gathered around the table. The sarcasm is lost on her, the two oldest boys get it and laugh.
She pulls out a notebook with pages of questions and a pen.
"The man you married in the states, the one you dumped Bjorney for, he was some type of royalty?"
huh? royalty? dumped Bjorney? welcome to the twilight zone!
"Yes, he was a prince of a small principality" I reply trying to keep a straight face.
"And you gave that all up?"
"It was a hard thing to do, but it was a matter of national security" I say, looking furtively round the room.
"Tell me all the details! I'm dying to know!"
"That's the problem, Janette, there's a lot that I cannot discuss."
"Soley," she says in a loud whisper, "Are you a spy?"
"Can't talk, Janette, it's too dangerous to talk" I reply looking at the two older boys. They are rolling their eyes. "You know, loose lips sink ships" I make a zipping motion over my mouth.
"OOOH, this is exciting, children, momma's friend Soley is a SPY!" she exclaims loudly. Every eye in the room turns to our table. I want to laugh, but I can't.
From the corner of my eye, I see a flash of orange, catch a scent of fish and salt water, then feel a tap on my shoulder. Bjorney?!
"Soley, you've got to go, now! It's urgent!!" he exclaims pulling me out of the chair.
"Sorry, Janette, gotta run, nice to see you again!" I call out as Bjorney pulls me to the door.
Bjorney has his motorbike parked at the curb.
"Your get away vehicle, madam!" he hands me a helmet.
"Thanks for the rescue!" I laugh as he speeds us out of Reykjavik, leaving a puzzled Janette looking out the hotel window.
Later that night, over cold beer and fresh grilled fish on the boat, I found out why Bjorney rescued me.
"It was driving me crazy, Soley. I couldn't stand the thought of that magpie interrogating you. I came in early and hopped on the bike, I was worried I would be there too late."
"Too late for what? To save me? I think I handled it quite well."
"Actually, I was worried she would make you mad and I would have to bail you out of jail."
"Hey, I can handle her and her gossip, I'm a spy, remember?"
"But are you the spy who loves me, I'm sure Janette is still trying to figure that out"
"I'll never tell, national security you know," I laughed flicking a beer cap at him.