We were unusually patient apart.

I'd last seen her over coffee at the diner by South Station, some years before, where I handed her a bag full of things I wanted her to have--CDs and books mostly. I wanted them to have a good home, somewhere, and she was the best home I could think of. I told her as much, and she smiled and thanked me.

I didn't talk much, but she made an effort to fill my silence. It was snowing, and I just stared at the flakes as they fell. Later, when the snow turned into a major storm and my train was delayed, she threw a snowball at me as I smoked a cigarette outside and wondered what to do. I know at some point we said our farewells and she shouldered a bag full of my things and walked off, but that's what I remember--her laughing and covered in snow. It was a nice way to part ways.

I waited at the station. She had somewhere to be--of course she'd made plans, I was supposed to be gone by now. Eventually they let me board the train and it took me west. The country sped past mostly at night, and every time day broke I'd look out the window and it would be somewhere completely new. I slept a lot, ate little, drank a lot. I'd promised a travel log, but the rhythm and noise of the train made concentrating difficult.

And then I was far away and at a new place that I would start calling home. She'd call and I'd be busy. She'd write and I'd put off reading her letters or writing back. It's not that I didn't want to, but I had a new life here, and she was part of an old life. It made me uncomfortable.

Tragedies, of course, bring people together, and this time I flew back and slept at the airport, in the baggage claim, until the trains started running and I could show up at her door. She made coffee and tried to smile. We made bad attempts at small talk before we let the morning pass in silence. It was springtime now.

She made up a spare room for me. I recognized the bag in the closet--all the things I'd given her before I left. It was mostly untouched, covered in old cobwebs. I put it back before she came in to check on me, and we both pretended to smile like there was nothing wrong, but of course everything was--and not just because of the circumstances that brought us back together.

1 comment:

mitchie said...

thumbs up..keep it up..