After ten years of thinking it each time I saw her face, finally, I said it to her. We didn’t really have the kind of relationship that was of this depth, but I said it anyway.

“Judy, I always have the feeling somehow that the world is breaking your heart.”

Her face dropped slightly in surprise, and she took her gaze away from mine to stare at something, or nothing.  An orange-y ray from the afternoon sun pierced through her wine glass, making a pretty light pattern on the table. A minute or two passed.

“Do you know that song, the old jazz one that goes, ‘Is that all there is?’” she quietly asked me, or somebody, or nobody.

“Yes,” I nodded, even though she still wasn’t looking at me. Another pause.

“Nothing is like how I thought it would be. Nothing is right. My life is going by and it will have meant nothing at all. I try to be grateful, and I am, I really am, but I feel like a failure.” Judy turned towards me, her face flat with exhaustion, eyes bright.

I watched a water droplet slide down my glass, and I traced its path with my finger. I sighed. I didn’t at all know what to say, until I knew exactly what to say, and it came tumbling out.

“In-between all the dreams and hopes and wishes and expectations that are put on us or that we make for ourselves…the gap between that and reality, is what being human is. It’s where all of us are all the time! All of us! That open field where possibility still exists, where we don’t know, good or bad, what our lives are going to be or what they will mean, because we can’t know. We balance the dreams and the boundaries, and this makes up our lives. It’s excruciating…and absolutely, crushingly beautiful. That struggle is what we are. It’s OK. It’s OK.”

She stared at me, and tears began to stream down her face. I began to loudly sing “Judy’s Turn To Cry,” and she laughed and I laughed until we were out of breath, not caring who, if anyone, saw us.