Jo was still lost in thought when she heard the familiar buzz of her cell phone. “Maggie” appeared on the dark screen.
“Good morning, my friend. How are things on your side of the world?” Jo’s voice was as warm as the morning sun that filtered across her living room. She was, it seemed looking forward to a visit from Gina, and that happy anticipation bled over into the tone of her voice.
“Good morning, my remote mountain friend. You seem to be in a really good mood. Everything’s just peachy here, not that you really want me to elaborate on all the “peachy” events in detail. How are you over there in hermit land?”
“It’s not hermit land, Maggie. There are plenty of people to see and things to do, it’s just not as easily accomplished as it is there. You’ll be interested to know I do have something planned with another actual living person today. Gina’s coming over.”
“Oh. Now remind me again, what’s her story? You two were best friends once, right?”
“Yes, that’s right. Gina and I basically grew up together. We just went in completely different directions when we graduated high school, and I did a really poor job of keeping in touch. Well, actually we both did.”
“She’s the one that stayed up there in that godforsaken, no-internet-access, mountain world, right?
Jo sighed. Maggie was so direct.
“Yes, she stayed here for all of her life, so far as I know. I’ll have more to share about her after visit today. Now, what did you call for? I know it wasn’t to simply disparage my mountain roots.”
Maggie laughed, and as she did, her own country upbringing was more pronounced. She had a low, throaty, full laugh; and one that was highly contagious.
“No, that’s not why I called. I’ve got something happening in one of the chat rooms I’ve been monitoring, and I need your input to decode some of the messages.”
“Can you email it to me? I’m really trying to get my ducks in a row before Gina gets here this morning, and I don’t have time for a lengthy conversation.”
“Sure. Although I really wanted to talk through this with you..” Maggie’s voice trailed.
She’s hoping I’ll change my mind and spend the next half hour working on this.
“I know you did, but I really don’t have time first thing this morning. Can you give me till early afternoon?”
“Yeah, I’ll just email it to you. But let me know something as soon as you can. I really do need this as soon as you can work on it.”
“I will. Gina’s coming around 8:30, and as soon as the visit is over, I’ll get to work on this.”
“8:30? Why so dang early? I don’t like visitors till afternoon.”
“Well, some of us actually enjoy getting up early and starting the day. Besides, it was Gina’s suggestion, not mine.”
They talked on for a another few minutes, and then Jo insisted that she needed to go. Maggie was never at a loss for words, and never minded engaging another as long as they would participate.
As she hung up the phone, she thought about her friendship with Maggie, and all the years they had known each other.
Maggie Wilson, aka Margaret Ann Wilson, had been one of her fellow female cadets all those many years ago. Maggie was then, and still to this day, a true friend. Different than her friendship with Gina had been, but nonetheless, a true friend.
Maggie didn’t want to participate in your problems. Maggie didn’t want to know that much about your personal life. She was always more focused on where your career and work life was going. Some would say that was just a little shallow, but Jo knew it wasn’t. Jo knew that was just Maggie. She didn’t like to talk about her personal issues, and she didn’t want you to talk about yours.
Ah, Maggie. Such a colorful combination of character conflicts. They’ll never make another one of her.
Maybe that had more to do with their field training and Jack Valley than Jo or Maggie would ever admit.
Maggie had in reality shared one of the most horrific events of Jo’s life. It had been Maggie that came to her immediately after, and Maggie that had talked her through the tears, the pain, and the disbelief. It had been Maggie that had finally helped her to cope and find her way back from the urge to run, and keep running. It had been Maggie that Jo had leaned on to find the mental strength to bury the events of that night and move on with her life.
Jack Valley had scarred them both. Maybe that’s why Maggie had developed the wall she carried with her now. Maybe helping Jo deal with the pain of the night’s events had taken all that Maggie had to give. It had taken almost everything Jo had had to give for a very long time.
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