A thousand years ago in a previous life that I barely remember and can't believe I ever owned, I worked with a girl who was virtually perfect in every way.
She was girl-next-door pretty. Straight white teeth. Deeply tanned skin gained from hours in the family pool. A halo of golden hair around the flawless skin of her face (which didn't require one lick of make-up).
And she was nice. Really, seriously nice. She was as close to perfect as you'll find. There was absolutely nothing wrong with her and nothing to dislike about her. Nothing at all.
She married a blond banker; tall, tanned, handsome and every bit as nice as she was.
They moved into an upper middle class neighbourhood and had two beautiful children, last I heard.
I used to look at her with awe. I was a lumpy, brown-haired girl with blotchy skin, hair that frizzed in the humidity, and overactive sweat glands. We couldn't have been more different, she and I.
I found myself thinking about her this afternoon - thinking about the charmed life she seemed to lead, and how there are people like that out there; those that seem to float through life on a cloud of good fortune and flawless skin.
I feel no malice towards her - none at all. But I do wonder why is is that there's such disparity in the human experience. I wonder how two people of roughly the same age from roughly the same place can come together to do roughly the same job and yet be so different - and have differences continue to widen the gulf between them as the years pass.
Okay, My Beloved is tall too. And handsome. And, of course, really nice. We have that in common, she and I.
But the lumpy girl and the tanned goddess couldn't be more different if they tried. And neither could their lives.
The last time I saw her I was about 5 months pregnant with Thomas. We were shopping for a new carpet for the family room and bumped into her in one of the aisles.
We made the awkward small talk of people who hadn't seen each other in years, and then parted amicably, the requisite "congratulations!" doled out and well received.
And here I am and there she is.
Still so different.