While holding on to the stressed-out kitten Pixel, Fire is in a calm yet somewhat high-pitched tone screaming google maps directions to Earth from her phone. In lack of a cat, Water is instead holding on to her car seat in the speedy curves while with serious intent reminding Earth about traffic laws and regulations. Earth is the only one able to really do anything. So she is driving the car well over the speed limit and repeatedly, and irritably, reminding both Fire and Water that she is a pretty experienced driver. I’m sitting in the back, deeply sympathising with Pixel just next to me, while looking at how the clock ticks away the margin between us arriving and my bus departing. Always the drama queen, I tell them: I don’t think we are going to make it. For the longest time, we have two minutes margin between google tells us we are going to arrive at the bus station and when my bus leaves, it turns into three, four, and… then we get stuck behind a horse carrier driving in 70kmh and we are back at two again. The rather calm collected panic in the car captures a perfect picture of a scenario in which each of us is perfectly portrayed in accordance with our own unique personality: Earth the doer, Water the caretaker, Fire the manager and I the enabler.
After Fire’s final instruction to Earth “Brake! You have to brake!!” I fly out of the car like the Wind I am, with Water at my heels. It is the perfect ending to a weekend away with the Fantastic Four: laughable hysterical panic.
The dramatic end to our weekend stood in sharp contrast to the rather chill vibe of the weekend. We had rented a cabin in the woods to go swimming in the lake, drink wine in the hot-tub and to get a much-needed break from our lives: Earth from her cows, Water from her kids, Fire from her boyfriend, and I from my parents. However, the past weeks been too dry to fill up the hot tub and, with a bit too much irony, it kept raining all weekend so we didn’t feel like swimming in the lake. And so it was that our much-needed break was reduced to overconsumption of candy and wine. It was pretty awesome.
One afternoon, Water stays behind to phone with family and a somewhat, but not really, intoxicated Earth and Fire let me drive the car for a 5-minute candy-refilling trip to the supermarket. As the highly inexperienced driver I am, it is with an even lower level of confidence then that of a few days later, that Fire told me not to drive onto the bicycle lane. Noted should be that I was not under the influence here. Unlike Earth, I just really don’t drive that much…
As we roamed around the store, Fire and I entered into that nonverbal state of mind that can best be described as a senseless and monotone “…aaaaaaaaaa…” as we came into contact with one of those male specimens of such provocative visual proportions that makes it hard to be a fully functioning woman. The shape of triceps in reversed semi-profile lingers in my senses. Fire took a more straightforward approach in her visualisations and saw abs under a shirt. Happily-married Earth noticed nothing. At the cash register, I turned to Fire and told her that I want to eat him, she nodded in absolute agreement and added in pretended disgust: “and he is with a silly horse girl.” Probably his sister, I tell her jokingly. Earth, too focused on the task at hand, looked at us in confusion with a “what?”
Earth is my oldest friend and we’ve known each other for more than two decades but Fire and Water are not far behind. In high school, we were that group of girls that to outsiders, and probably to ourselves, might have seemed pretty similar, but a “growing-up” later and today we are all crystallised into very unique personalities.
In a sense, we always had those differences: Earth hardworking and project minded, building her own business. Water family-oriented and nurturing, cleaning water for a living. Fire passionate in her love-troubles working with wood and material manipulation. And I, the senseless know-it-all desperately searching all over the world for something I am becoming increasingly certain can’t be found. I imagine we gained a certain level of sophistication in our crystalized personalities, but that might just be wishful thinking to justify the addition of wrinkles framing our faces.
One evening after too much wine, I shared, with deep conviction, my latest find: Anti-wrinkle cream. I know, it’s not a new thing… but I always assumed it was packaged charlatan hope for rich old ladies. However, the scientist in me probably grew bored, so I put it to the test – on one eye exclusively. Almost immediately, but definitely after two weeks, the difference cannot be denied. It actually works (at least, with hyaluron base). The girls were initially as sceptical as I had been but they too noticed the difference. Wrinkles might be one of life’s lesser problems, but as the Fantastic Four shared the forepart of our life’s first half wrinkle-free, I think sharing the second half together with as few wrinkles as possible sounds like the best possible option. Whether that translates to the continuation of our individual differences, only time will tell.