Hello, my dear friend’, Laura shrieked as she sat down on her desk.
‘Hello, hello, ‘ Annie’s voice echoed from the laptop. ‘How is my favourite friend doing?’
‘Your favourite friend just left her job’, Laura sighed and waited for Annie’s response.
‘You did? I can’t believe it, but it was about the time!” Annie laughed. ‘You never fitted in in the academic environment. It was far too competitive for you and I always felt that it wasn’t your true passion.‘
‘Really?‘ Laura was surprised. ‘You never said anything.‘
‘You needed to figure that one out yourself, ‘ Annie explained. ‘If I had said something before you were ready to hear it, you wouldn’t have liked what I was saying.‘
‘I see what you mean‘ Laura nodded. ‘But now the trouble is, I am not sure what I can do instead…. I have ideas, but I am not sure how and which ones to put into practice.‘
‘Oh honey, you’ll figure that one out,‘ Annie said reassuringly. ‘Just take a bit of time out and listen to your instinct. It will tell you what your passion is and what you would like to focus on.’
‘You are right’, Laura admitted. ‘ I have listened to other people too much my whole life and never truly followed my heart on what I would like to do with my life. It is time that I am honest with myself and do what I really want to do.’
‘That’s my girl talking’, Annie laughed. ‘Since you love your yoga, how about you go on a retreat? They are great places for having space for yourself and you haven’t been on one despite having practice yoga for so many years.’
As Annie was saying the words, Laura knew that that was exactly what she needed to do. She had been dying to go on a retreat for so long, but something had always come up. A few years ago, her grandfather had unexpectedly died just before she was about to go on a retreat in Spain and so she had travelled instead to be with her family in Sweden. The year after, she has decided to go and do some volunteering in Africa. That had proved to be an amazing and eye-opening experience that Laura wouldn’t change for the world, but it had also meant that she didn’t have money for the retreat that year.
‘That would be so brilliant’, she screamed at Annie and stood up, already giddy with excitement. ‘I just need to look for a suitable one! As soon as the job ends after the notice period in two weeks‘ time, I will go on one!
Annie laughed heartily. ‘How about you come and do it in Taiwan so I can join you there? You must be getting some redundancy money from the university, so why not invest it in flying to Taiwan?’
Now Laura was jumping with excitement. ‘Annie, you are the best of the best! You always have the most wonderful ideas! And you are the most amazing person to take this leap with!’
Now both of the girls were laughing out loud. Annie herself had trained to be a marketing expert, but after having worked flat-out fourteen-hour days for big cosmetic companies, she had reached her limit, quit her job and, after some soul searching, become a masseuse who wrote the monthly horoscope for the Taiwanese Vogue. She, out of all the people, knew what it was like to be searching for what one was meant to be doing during one’s lifetime.
‘And how are things with Hakim?’ Annie asked cautiously after they had both calmed down.
‘Well, they no longer are, but that is fine,’ Laura sat back down on her chair. ‘It is also a relief to be away from his controlling behaviour. Apparently his family found a wife for him in Pakistan and so he is getting married soon.‘
Annie was silent for a while. ‘I know that you both did love and care about one another. But the traditional way of handing things in his family is just too much. It is too different to your modern lifestyle. He would have been too old-fashioned and religious for you, no matter what. I know that four years is a very long time to spend with someone, but do you think that it would ever have worked on a longer term?’
Laura knew that Annie was absolutely right. And she knew that she had known deep down herself that it wouldn’t last with Hakim, no matter what. They had shared fun times and special moments together, and she knew that she had meant a great deal to Hakim. But when it came down to it, he didn’t have the backbone to stand against his parents who were arranging a marriage for him back in their homeland in Pakistan. Deep down, he wasn’t man enough to stand on his two feet.
‘What about you? Any exciting news?’ Laura wanted to change the subject. She didn’t even want to talk about Hakim any more.
‘Nothing much. Massage business is going well and I am enjoying writing for the Vogue. Otherwise, I have made some nice new friends at a meditation session that I attend each Friday. I am content and love living with my cat.’
Annie sounded blissfully happy as she said it, Laura thought. She could definitely achieve the same level of happiness that Annie was radiating.
‘Oh, I can’t wait to see you!’ Laura smiled.
‘I can’t wait to see you either,’ Annie said. ‘But a client will be waiting for me soon, so I must go. Look forward to hearing about the retreat plans soon!’
As they rang off, Laura had the biggest smile on her face in ages. Everything was going to be just fine. Even the moon and the stars are shining down on me, she thought as she looked out of the window at the big, bright full moon, laughing down on her.


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