the other morning, heading to my favorite work-away-from-work haunt, i was plugging my meter when a lively and lithe youngish woman (maybe my age, maybe a year or two younger) parked her car, hopped out and plugged her meter too. i only noticed her in that offhand way you notice activity around you, but since i turned my back on her and headed down the street much sooner than she did i was a trifle surprised to see her bop past me. she was walking at what struck me as a normal, healthy, active rate — the pace of a woman with some strength in her bones — and i found myself trying to remember what it is like to not-lumber around. as she passed, i became entranced by her hair — gorgeous, long auburn locks with a gentle wave to them. i noticed, gazing at her backside, her, um, backside, which was a nice size and a nice shape and was covered in well-fitting but probably not expensive trousers. good god, i thought to myself, i will never again be that woman: the woman who looks put together, the woman who is fit, the woman whose body is not exceeding what appear to be its natural bounds. and i was ashamed of myself, and a little sad, that during the time i had been that woman i hadn’t fully appreciated it.

my red-headed friend ended up in front of me for coffee. well, not so much in front of me as to my side — a vantage point from which she turned to me, smiled shyly, and said “i’m sure you’re tired of answering this, but when are you due?” “three weeks,” i told her. her eyes widened. “wow,” she said. “you look great.” i smiled and said thank you. “i was where you are, almost exactly two years ago,” she continued. “uh, WOW!” i answered back. “YOU look great.” she laughed. “oh, my two year old is FAST. i spend all my time running after her. literally.”

from envy to hope, just like that.