I run into Vicky sometime during those limbo days between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, the time Germans so aptly call between the years – the old one all but over, the new one not yet begun.
I don’t know much about Vicky, other than that she drives the fanciest car in town. I do know, though, that her horse had to be put down just a few weeks prior.
I tell her I’m sorry. Tears glisten in her eyes, and I want to hug her, but we’re in the middle of a pandemic and hugging is not the done thing anymore. Instead, I do something far less substantial. I ask her if she had a good Christmas time.
“Oh, stop it about Christmas,” she demands, eyes now blazing. “I’ve been stuck inside with an indoor plant of a husband. Tell you what, husbands are really just Tamagotchis. Feed me, play with me, whine, whine. I went on a 16-mile hike yesterday, on my own, because I just couldn’t stand it anymore.”
She falters, and a little shock drags at her features, regret over the words she let escape. “Don’t get me wrong,” she continues in haste, “I love him, and I don’t want to get rid of him. But I can’t wait for the holidays to be over.”
I laugh. “Not judging you,” I promise. “Your holidays, my 2021.”
She pulls a quizzical frown.
“Lockdowns,” I explain. “Home office. Home schooling. Try getting any kind of focused work done when it’s Mom, can you help me with math, Mom, can I have an apple, every five minutes.”
Vicky closes her eyes for a second. “Oh dear.”
I laugh some more, and the conversation moves on to the new horse she’s getting soon. We part smiling.
I still don’t know much about her.