I don’t think opposites attract nearly as well in friendship as they do in love, especially when personal ethics are involved. My wife has reached that conclusion too. Under the circumstances, I can’t say I blame her.
Sophia is the first to admit her ineligibility for sainthood. Nonetheless, except for the occasional white lie, she’s an honest person who tries to speak the truth. She believes others should operate under the same guidelines as well.
Until yesterday, she thought her soon-to-be-former friend, Rebecca, lived by the same rules. The two met a couple of years ago at the gym and have since become frequent social companions. Sophia figured she knew her friend inside out, and she identified Rebecca as a kindred spirit. Yet after last night, that character evaluation will need a substantial makeover.
While visiting Rebecca’s home yesterday evening, Sophia spied flower arrangements, fruit baskets and greeting cards covering the kitchen’s center island. While her hostess was otherwise occupied, my wife took the opportunity to peruse several of the cards and gift notes. All the messages conveyed condolences for the loss of Rebecca’s unborn fetus!
The sentiments came as a surprise to Sophia. Not only had Rebecca failed to mention being with child, but her tight-fitting gym outfit had never exhibited the slightest sign of conception.
Sophia understandably felt compelled to pose a question or two. And Rebecca seemed more than ready to explain: “We have a really big parking lot at work, and I’m always drawing a spot far from the building’s entrance. But my boss has a designated space in the front row, and being the chivalrous sort he lets any pregnant employee use it. So, about six months ago, I told him I was pregnant, and I’ve been enjoying that parking space ever since.”
Stunned, my wife stuttered: “But, but … you don’t look pregnant!”
“Not at the moment, I don’t,” Rebecca replied. “But when I went to work, I wore the same prosthetic actresses wear on TV to make it seem like they’re carrying. I managed a very convincing bulge too.”
Even more astonished, Sophia queried: “I see … What’s with the miscarriage?”
“Well, I’m only allowed to use the parking spot till I deliver, and I’m obviously not giving birth. So, two weeks ago, a month before my ‘due date,’ I called in sick after suffering a tragic late-term miscarriage. My understanding boss told me to take as much time off as I need. And as you can see, my concerned co-workers have been showering me with cards, flowers and gift baskets. I’ll have to thank them all when I go back to work on Monday.”
Before disgustedly excusing herself, Sophia offered a sarcastic parting remark: “A shame you’ll have to park in the boonies from now on.”
“For a little while,” Rebecca conceded. “But my husband and I are going to try to conceive again real soon, and I have a strong feeling I’ll have another bun in the oven before long.”
Only after the front door shut behind her did it occur to Sophia: Wait a minute. She’s not even married!”