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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.

“Not great.”

“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.
Mick Kannegiesser
+61 0438 27 11 25