I ran out and looked around; she was parking her scooter on the sideway. An old friend I hadn’t met for a very long time. I asked her to come in. My office was on the second floor and it was almost closing time. I’d come down leaving an intern hung up on a question. (Some things are more important than a question anyways).
“Let’s go, my office is two floors up”, I said, as I pushed her in. Hoping for a conversation or two. Maybe for that sense of being whole when you’re with a friend.
“I can’t.”, she said, “I need to get home”.
“It’s almost 6. My office closes in 5 minutes. Come on up. You can leave in 5 minutes. You haven’t even seen my office”, I said, still giving her a nudge.
She stopped, looked at her watch, and said “It’s already 6? I told my mom I’d be home by 6”. I was confused. She couldn’t have called me down just to say she couldn’t even stay for 5 minutes.
She offered me a hug and I just stared at her. She was standing there, arms open, still wearing the raincoat and the helmet with a broken smile on her face. I realised then and there that she was leaving forever. I gave her a hug. “Oh I forgot”, she said as she reached into her pocket and pulled out a rectangle bar. Kitkat. Something to cheer me up maybe.
“C’mon dude. You can’t leave now. At least stay for 5 minutes”, I went for emotional blackmail hoping that would work.
“I can’t”, said she. “I have promises to keep.. I’ve promised them that I’d be there.”
“The same way you promised that you’d come meet”? I asked. But I didn’t want the last time we meet to end in awkwardness. I wasn’t even expecting her to come visit. But she did. She stood up straight, like a soldier, and put her hand forward.
“Goodbye” she said. I shook her hand and said the same. As she was walking backwards, waving her hand still with the broken smile on her face, I did my final attempt to make her stay. I walked away and looked back with the sorriest puppy dog eyes I could do and said you’d promise you’d come visit. But I knew, now, she never will. And I saw he leaving as I was running away myself.
She left giving me a hug, a handshake, a Kitkat bar, and a minute of happiness.