I visited my friend Kathy. She'd been mourning the loss of her sister and I'd often nursed her while she cried. She opened the door to her house and stepped back. I wanted to greet her with a hug, but as I stepped in we pivoted in the hallway a safe distance apart.
How are you? she asked.
Ugh. She said, walking into the kitchen and resting her bum against the sink.
How are you? I asked, following her in and sitting by the wall opposite.
Oh, fine, I'm fine.
In the pause she avoided eye contact. I asked what she'd been doing, and she told me she'd been out for a coffee and a bit of shopping.
Are you OK? She asked. You're not going to burst into tears?
I looked at the floor.
She took a couple of half steps forward and stopped there, while I made my way out of the chair and across the kitchen. She put her arms around my middle and stood upright. I wrapped myself around her. I wanted to rest my head against hers, but already she was loosening her grip. Time to move buddy. I didn't want to, but I let go and we stepped apart.
Let's sit in here. She lead the way to the lounge room, where she sat in a chair at the far end of the table. I sat in the armchair. We talked for a while, then I left.
On the way home I pulled over and cried.
© 1993, 1999.