Sylvia and I had been meeting once a month, faithfully for the last 15 years. She and I had been friends since junior high. We used to be inseparable, but once you have a husband and kids, things change. But one thing we were able to do, was always get together once a month to catch up.
I sat in one of our favorite restaurants downtown overlooking the park. I had been seated near a window and was people watching to pass the time. I heard the chime of the door, and turned to see Sylvia breeze though in her elegant, beautiful manner. She smiled at the hostess and indicated that she was meeting a friend, me, and made her way over.
“Carol,” she said and leaned down to hug me, “I’m so sorry I’m late.”
“Absolutely no problem,” I said. “Should we order a drink?”
“Yes, maybe several,” Sylvia said. She was joking but I could see something in her eyes that wasn’t usually there.
We ordered our drinks and began sipping and catching up, with such ease that only long time friends have. The conversation flowed this way and that, touching on all of the usual topics, kids, careers and finally husbands.
“John has been great. He’s not working as much now so I’ve been trying to convince him to take up a hobby that doesn’t include following me around,” I began laughing at my own joke. I looked at Sylvia and she wasn’t laughing at all. It was almost as though she hadn’t heard anything I said. She stared at the table and twisted her wine glass stem between her fingers.
“Allan is having an affair,” she said without looking up.
I wasn’t sure I’d heard her correctly. Surely not Allan and Sylvia. They were the perfect couple. Both beautiful, well to do and most of all happy. Weren’t they?
Finally she looked up, obviously waiting for a response from me.
“I’m so sorry, Syl,” was all I could get out.
“Yes, thank you,” she responded. “I’ve actually been thinking about getting rid of him,” she said.
“Well, yes,” I said. “I can see how divorce could definitely be on your mind. But maybe you could go to counseling.”
“No, Carol,” she said flatly. “I don’t mean divorce.”
I looked at her, trying to figure out what in the world she could be meaning. She leaned in and I leaned in also.
“I mean,” she looked around to make sure no one was looking, “I mean, murder.”
She leaned back and took a sip of her wine. I simply sat back, turned my head and looked out the window. An affair and now murder.
“I’m only telling you this, Carol, because you are my dearest friend. I feel that I can trust you and also ask a favor,” Sylvia said.
I simply looked at her and reached for my glass. I waited for the favor.
“I’m going to need help, Carol. Help executing my plan. You’re the only one I can turn to,” she looked at me hopefully.
I turned toward the window again. My mind racing. I sat there in silence trying to process it all. Finally I looked at her and smiled.
“What are friends for,” I said.
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