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Julie: ‘You can also just be sad’

Pam and Carola spontaneously stroll through the city and have the flirters on their side. On the terrace they meet Rosanne, a friend from the past. She says that Pam’s ex Frank is going to be a father and the news hits like a bomb.

“Honey, come here”, Carola comforts and throws her arms around my neck.

Rosanne beckons the waiter and makes sure he pours another round.

“Oh dear, I really thought you already knew,” she says again.

I take a deep breath and say with a trembling lip, “It’s okay. Really. Of course I knew this was going to happen.”

Four years ago, Frank and I broke up quite suddenly. We were a household name for eight years. We were always together from day one. I helped him set up his company, he helped me with the big steps in my career. We went on vacation at least four times a year and bought a bitch from a 1930’s house together. Just in a row, but still striking for the young couple that we were. When we just moved in, one of the neighbors even came to ask if I might be the babysitter. I could laugh about it.

We have been renovating it for years and the moment the last plinth was drying, the first cracks appeared in our relationship. Maybe we looked so long ahead that we forgot to look aside. To each other. I broke up and he had a new girlfriend within a month. And now he is living our life in another city with another woman. And soon with a baby. While Rosanne chats to me, the past twelve years have crossed my mind.

“It’s nice to see you again, Pam,” says Rosanne. “I missed you. Will you come to dinner with us soon?”

I nod. “That sounds like fun. Are you okay with Lennart too?”

“Yes dude, fine. I’ll text you a date soon? Just go and relax now, we’ll talk later.”

“I’m fine,” I say again. “And actually I’m glad I know now, because I was hiccups.”

“Honey …” Carola squeezes my hand. “Come on, let’s give Julie a call.”

From the terrace we make a video call to Julie, who is alone on the sofa drinking a good glass of white. She likes to buy her favorite brand in boxes of six, so she never runs out.

As soon as she answers, I imagine that Frank is having a baby.

“Jesus! How do you know? And how do you feel?” Julie wants to know.

I give a brief summary and am a little touched by Julie’s wide eyes and penetrating look.

“Honey,” she says. “I’ve heard you say you’re ‘okay’ three times now, but you can also just be sad, right? And shocked.”

And I break. Big tears and Carola’s sweet arm around me.

“Now it is really over with him. And I really want a baby hyhyhyhy”, I sob. My cheeks are soaked and I have to be careful not to put mascara on Carola’s white puffed sleeve.

“Just swallow and carry on, joke”, she soothes. “You don’t need Frank for a long time. And that baby is really coming. Perhaps with Pierre, who you are now using so much text.”

“No, not”, I laugh through my tears. “He just texted a photo with the text that he has a labrador in co-parenting. I’m not going to do that anyway.”

Laughter across the terrace. Just what I needed.

After years of dating (one of which even became a marriage) Pam, Julie and Carola are suddenly single again. Not ideal, but secretly also a wonderful adventure for the over-30s who once had a house-tree-creature and are now trying their freedom together. Between city trips, dancing nights and dinner evenings together, they learn about life, love and each other.

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