There was once a Town Mouse and a Country Mouse.
The Country Mouse rarely went out, for there was nowhere to go and precious few people to meet. She scuttled about her tiny little house living her hermetic existence and eating leafy green salads from her own pocket handkerchief garden for lunch. She read. She wrote. She played with her offspring: most had scrambled out of her homely little nest and only returned sporadically to raid the fridge, get their laundry done and ask for increased allowances. But there was one left, the youngest, a constant source of amusement and companionship for our sometimes lonely Country Mouse, who never wore shoes but padded about in her barefeet (nail polish peeling from toes) and the same pair of scruffy shorts day after day. Her hair – too long now – was always screwed into an untidy knot at the back of her head.
The Town Mouse by comparison barely sat still. There were lunches (in town, naturally) to be had (paninis sweating cheese and glasses of red wine). Hair appointments to attend, pedicures to enjoy (Town Mouse always has perfectly painted red toenails), shops to trawl (even when she wasn’t buying). She was exhaustingly social, darting hither and thither and catching up with friends over too much coffee. There were school runs to do and mothers to either avoid or gossip with in the car park, there was a daughter to collect each afternoon, excited chatter to listen to, sleepovers to arrange. There were movies to see (Enchanted), dinner parties to attend. She always wore shoes and remembered to change her clothes and brush her newly done tresses every day.
The Country Mouse – despite feeling bereft of company from time to time – was never short of peace and quiet and time to find the right words. The Town Mouse barely had a moment to spare in her hectic schedule. She didn’t get enough sleep and her waistband – on account of the indulgence that attends regular meals out – was growing disconcertingly tight.
The Country Mouse visited the Town Mouse and despite the initial novelty of restaurants and cinemas and hair salons, it wasn’t long before she began to feel a little broke, a bit fatter, more tired than she was used to. It wasn’t long before she began to yearn for a little bit of space. A slower pace.
She hadn’t expected that.