Prius was her car of choice. I drove an SUV. When she needed groceries, she'd hook a small trailer to her bicycle and ride the 8 miles round trip to get stocked up; I'd drive my car or better yet, send my husband. A well-read subscription to The New York Times was carelessly strewn about her living room, while I neatly stacked my coffee table art books. She was completely smitten with Hillary Clinton, while I struggled with my schizophrenic intrigue for both Mitt Romney and Barrack Obama. Hers was an efficient, functioning vegetable garden. My hours were spent preening English daisies and Icelandic poppies for gazing on contemplative afternoons. While she sipped water from a Nalgene bottle, I was sucking down Diet Coke.
But, I'm ahead of myself. We met while each was walking her Pembroke Welsh Corgi: hers the classic warm butterscotch and vanilla brand, mine a more messy tri-color. We bonded instantly. The next year and a half was a series of long dog walks, cycling to our local gym, rediscovering yoga, attending and discussing films, dinner parties - even an afternoon spent baking the Barefoot Contessa's gourmet chocolate cake as a love gift to our husbands one Valentine's Day. We had each discovered a new friend and we were giddy with our explorative honeymoon.
The change was slow, over a few months, and barely perceptible at first. I might say something and notice a slight downward turn of her mouth. A couple of times, an air of disapproval. Longer pauses between phone calls.
A war had started - and it was in my neighborhood. Nothing was said, of course, but it was there nonetheless. A grating and grinding of differences, the rise of intolerance, judgement insidiously seeping in. My stomach knotted up: I was feeling misunderstood, alienated, and worst of all, unloved.
We felt things we either couldn't or wouldn't talk about. And then, one day, the silent chasm grew so large it was uncrossable. We had lost each other to perceived or imagined oh-so-important ideals. The war culminated in each retreating to her territory. It was over.