"I'm happy for you, Honk." She kissed him gently on the cheek, afraid she wouldn't be able to handle anything more intimate.
He was excited. More excited than she had seen him in years. She didn't want to take that away from him. She wanted him to be happy.
"You're definitely sure, are you El?" he asked. "It's not too late. We could run down to the ticket office right now."
The enthusiasm hadn't left his voice since it ignited yesterday. She wanted to hold on to it, to hold it to her own spirit, to not let him go. But she knew their paths had diverged - had been diverging for years, or he would not have found this suddenly so exhilarating.
"I have my own life here," she said. "I have my own friends ...and roots. I'm sorry you didn't feel like there was much to hold you here, but this is a new opportunity for you, a chance for a new life."
Honk thought he'd be sad, or at least more so, there in his last moments before he left her behind. But he wasn't. His head was lost in the clouds, lost in Germany and all its possibilities. He could barely see the ground at all.
"El?" He looked around. "El!" he shouted. She was just here a second ago. I would have noticed if she left. Wouldn't I? Honk stood on his tiptoes and looked all around. Jumped up a few times. She was lost among the crowds of travellers. I don't have time to wait. They're leaving soon. I'll call her when we land.
She saw him give up looking for her. She saw him turn around. She saw him hurry away. It was better this way. She didn't want the expression on her face to be his final memory of her.
She called Chris. Chris wasn't picking up. She called Morgan.
"Hello?" he said.
He sounds distracted. "Morgan!"
"Yes?" he asked. "El, is that you?"
"Is something wrong El? Did something happen?"
"Yes, I know. You going to be okay?"
"I think so. Yeah, I definitely think so. I just needed a moment."
"I'll be here," he said. "I'm here right now."
"Thanks Morg." She ran out of things to say. "I'll call back later. I need to gather my thoughts."
Eleanor didn't leave. Not right away. She sat there watching the other people moving on with their lives. The other people saying goodbye. And the other people saying hello. She wanted to be among those saying hello. Not the ones saying goodbye.