A few days after breaking up with John he called to see how I was doing. I think he was surprised to hear I was fine. I was sad our romantic relationship had ended, but we had grown a strong friendship over the past year that neither of us could easily give up.
I told John I had some things of his and asked if he’d like to meet for coffee.
Starbucks seemed an appropriate place to meet up since that was where the seeds of our friendship had first sprouted. It would be good to see him and to return his personal things.
For years John had carried around an old briefcase that was filled with notebooks he’d written in, and it was in my car with his other belongings.
I had given him a hard time about that satchel full of memories and told him he’d never get rid of those ghosts and demons if he kept hauling them around with him. It also housed his legal papers for his upcoming trial.
After transferring his things into his truck, we sat and had coffee together.
I don’t recall what we chatted about, but there was an undeniable bond between us that also echoed the sadness over our break up.
When it was time to leave, he asked me what I was doing the rest of the day. He had helped me design a headboard awhile back, and I said I was going to get the supplies I needed to make it.
He immediately volunteered to help.
I hesitated for a moment, but it seemed natural that he would help; so I agreed. We went to the hardware store and then the fabric store; and he helped me pick out everything we needed, just like a couple in love would do together.
John followed me back to my place, and we spent the afternoon building a headboard and continuing a friendship. It all felt perfectly normal.
As summer marched on, John continued helping me out at the estate here and there; and I continued to read his weekly column and chat with him about ideas for his posts.
In August I went to Mississippi to see my son get his wings. He would officially be a Navy Pilot, and I wanted to be there to celebrate. John drove me to the airport with a promise to be there to pick me up when I returned.
I’m always happy when I spend time with my kids, and this was no exception. After the winging ceremony, there was a celebration; and I held my granddaughter close and danced the night away. I was right where I wanted to be and so happy.
While I was there, my daughter-in-law and I went shopping; and with her help I found a pretty blue summer dress. I liked it so much I wore it on the plane on my way back home.
As promised, John was waiting for me when I stepped outside the airport. He saw me and jumped out of the car, came around and gave me a big hug picking me up off the ground.
It was fun, and I felt like a million bucks in that moment.
And just days later I would once again hear those three words he had spoken months earlier.