Elizabeth and Lauren exchanged small talk for a while. Each testing the waters to see if it was safe to venture deeper. She could sense the hesitancy in Lauren to pry. The last time they’d talked Lauren had made an off the cuff remark people loving themselves and Elizabeth had snapped. Surprising not only her friends but herself. Since then she’d shied away from group outings. Instead hanging out with her friends one on one. Lauren was the last one out of the group she hadn’t seen since then and she still didn’t have an idea of how to address it all.

“I’m sorry.” Said in unison, it surprised both women that their thoughts were still on the same page. Smiling Elizabeth said she’d go first.

“Lauren…I’m so sorry I snapped at you.” Lauren tried to interrupt but Elizabeth shook her head. “No I am. See, your comment which was definitely a joke, hit too close to home. I was still in denial about how I was treating myself or the lack thereof, I don’t know. All I know is I’m sorry I pulled away. I just knew I was a mess and I didn’t want to talk about it. I was ready to deal with it and I know I couldn’t hide from you. We’ve shared too much and apparently,” she said with a smile, “we know each other too well.”

As Lauren laughed, her first real one since they sat down, the tension in Elizabeth slowly seeped out.

Lauren watched Elizabeth’s rigid shoulders slowly relax as the tension slowly left her. She exhaled softly. What was going on with Eliz? Her friend, her sister, something was off.

“Honey, is there something you want to talk about? You already know I wouldn’t keep a grudge about something like that. I knew something was up with you.” Reaching across the table she touched Elizabeth’s hand. Feeling a bit a relief that Elizabeth didn’t move away she asked, “Are ready to talk about it?”

Elizabeth looked at her hands. Was she? If she opened up, spilled her thoughts, this currently light conversation would turn heavy. Looking up into her friends eyes she asked, “How much time do you have?”

Lauren smiled, “For you? All the time in the world. Tell mama all about it suga.”

Elizabeth laughed and over sips of frozen sugary coffees and sandwiches shared her burdens.