I wave; she waves back and walks over. “Hey”, I call out to her. She just nods to me. Nothing more is expected. We’re friends like that. And she’s quiet like that. I say to her, “Nice shirt”. She just smiles, “It’s new”. I hadn’t known she had gotten a new shirt, actually, I didn’t know so much about her now. Things were different.

A tension hung in the air between us. It wasn’t natural. It shouldn’t be this way. She mumbles something, I didn’t quite hear it. I asked her what she had said, and when she responded the word was slow and drawn out, like she had difficulty saying it, “Nothing”. I didn’t bother inquiring more.

As the years had slipped by, our friendship had drifted apart, thinned out. I think the only thing that kept us together were the memories of our childhood, running around in the later summer sun, not a care in the world. We longed for those days again, though in the back of our hearts, we knew they were gone.

She leaned forward, hugging me, and whispering in my ear, “Thanks”. I hugged her back, a tear forming in my mind. It was all I could do to keep from crying. I hoped this would not be our last good-bye.

I also hoped that this would be one friend, I could store in the back of my mind like you might store an old teddy bear in the back of your closet. So that maybe, when my body is old and tired, I may discover it again, and re-live those long summer nights.

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