“So what are your thoughts on having children?”
She tossed the question at me, quite out of the blue it seemed, sitting as we were next to an impossibly blue ocean under a cerulean sky. With no precursor, right as I was in the act of forking a piece of crispy imperial roll into my mouth, the question hung between us for a few seconds while I considered answering with with my mouth full, lest it be thought that I was stalling.
I’ve been asked the question several hundred times before. The thing is, I was not having lunch with my mother. This was lunch with a former colleague, one I’d sat right next to for two or more years and had known for about eight years before then. Sure, she belonged to my mother’s generation, but in spirit she always seemed to have more in common with my younger sister and we’d become unlikely friends. With her Ph.D in philosophy and as Director of Marketing for a major architectural company, she was dynamic, friendly and but conventional in the two years I sat next to her at work. There’d never been a mention of anything even close to this topic before, so to say I was caught unawares would have been an accurate assessment. I struggled to find gather my thoughts while distracted contemplating the tender fried radish and mushrooms currently occupying my taste buds.