She was expecting a guest who would be travelling 4000 km to visit her. It was a special guest. For it was one whom she had known for decades and had shared many untold weal and woe with. Someone who understood her, a confidante and a soul mate. Melody indulged the morning getting her house spick and span. She took a well deserved breather and looked pleased with her work. It was time to meet her guest.
Warm hugs were exchanged at the arrival lanes at the airport. High pitch twitters filled the crisp cool air. The visitor noticed the quality of air quickly and took a few deep breaths before getting into her hostess' vehicle. "Exhilarating!" she thought to herself. She had initial doubts about making that place her holiday destination, a place notorious for being "boring." A well planned holiday was a common practice, almost a culture, from where she came from. Every single minute must be maximised for entertainment to make the trip worthwhile. She took a few more deep breathes and made a mental note she must do more of those, since the air quality was astounding in comparison.
The visitor thought Melody looked different, yet she could not put a finger on it. She was grossly dressed down to the standards she had known her to kept but alluded charm she had never seen in her. She thought Melody spoke slower, almost with a motherly calm. Melody clearly aged from the last time they met but she looked radiant. Her eyes sparkled with life and her usual slightly knitted brows seemed to have disappeared from her forehead, as if they never existed. Gone were her air of haughty professionalism. In place of it, was an aura of peacefulness.
"Nice place," she remarked, as she scanned through Melody's house. Your maid did a great job keeping things so neat.
"No, I did the cleaning on my own," said Melody, smiling slightly as she spied on the horrific expression of her old friend from a corner of her eye.
"And," she went on, "I cook, scrub the toilets, bring out the thrash, trimmed the hedges myself, assemble my furniture, laid the outdoor decking you can see from here and more." Melody turned to face her guest, who looked like she had a furious array of questions she couldn't decide which to ask first.
"But..... but...," she stammered. "Aren't these work for the men?"
Melody laughed as she gave her answer, eyes twinkling, "Over here, we learn to live like a cactus."
"We ride out the rough weather, live on little and most importantly, stand up for ourselves."
The guest was not impressed and retorted, "Life is so boring here and you have to do so many things yourself and make yourself wrinkled as a cactus, why?"
Melody answered, "Here, I discovered that there are many facets of life other worth pursuing than my old priorities. Perhaps at a place that does not demand anything out of us, we begin to discover what we really want for ourselves."