I first met my friend Sarah at a holiday party in December. She had just moved to town, and I found her to be positively delightful.
So enjoyable was that first meeting, we took a day trip a month later with a few other gals, laughing and gabbing the way only a carload of grown-up girls can.
Two months went by before I saw her again, this time in a dimly lit Pilates studio.
We always smiled every week, inhaling our way through our T-stands and leg circles, but Sarah seemed distant.
This puzzled me, as I thought we had really bonded during our two previous encounters. I had confessed my feelings of inadequacy when it comes to accessorizing; she had shared family secrets generations old. I could not figure out why being her friend had suddenly become so hard. Was it because I could not do a perfect roll-up? Maybe it was the sight of me in Lycra shorts?
I had flashbacks to grade school, hoping the other kids would overlook my inability to hit the side of a barn with a dodge ball and let me play with them at recess anyway.
After several classes went by in that dark studio, I finally decided to start a real conversation.
Lying on my mat in my usual spot, I looked at Sarah as she set up next to me.
“I had so much fun in Atchison,” I started, slightly pausing for her to enthusiastically agree. The room was dim, but she appeared to be looking at me as though I was speaking a foreign language. Undaunted, I went on. “Now that it’s warming up, I’d love to make a trip to the Plaza.”
She gave me the kind of smile I usually reserve for my kids when they ask if we can ever camp in our backyard someday.
And she never rolled her mat out near me again.
Some time passed before I saw Sarah again socially. She was bubbly, friendly, very congenial. We chatted all through dinner as the conversation turned to exercise. She was giving me the lowdown on her love of running when I mentioned our Pilates class.
“I don’t take Pilates,” she said.
“I’ve seen you, Friday afternoons?” I said to her in the most non-accusing way I could muster.
She giggled. “No, but I’d love to try it. Do you like it?”
My stomach dropped to the floor below as I noticed Sarah’s hair was a bit darker at dinner than it was at Pilates.
“But, there’s a woman in my class who looks just like you,” I stammered, re-framing every interaction I’d had with Sarah’s doppelganger. “I invited her to go shopping on the Plaza …”
“That sounds fun!” Clearly the real Sarah had no idea what a complete idiot she was talking to.
But on the plus side, she still has no idea what I look like in Lycra doing a T-stand.
This new friendship just might have a chance.