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Worth the Wait

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I sit in a lowly lit, cozy coffee shop in a comfy, leather chair as the smell of coffee and espresso permeate the air around me. I’ve got a giant mug of my favorite drink, caramel macchiato, and I slowly sip it as I wait. I look out the window to pass the time; I’ve brought a book, but I’m too antsy to read. People walk by outside and I watch them. A mom pushing a stroller passes as she chats on a cell phone. A businessman carries his briefcase as he weaves in and out of the people on the sidewalk. A young girl jogs by with earphones in her ears, pulling a dog on a leash. The last thing I see before turning away is a young couple, obviously in love, walking by, smiling and laughing.

I’m distracted and I hope I haven’t missed him. We were supposed to meet at 1:00, but it’s now quarter after and he hasn’t shown yet. I’ve downed my second coffee and the caffeine is starting to kick in. It’s been years since we’ve seen each other and I hope he’s as excited to see me and I am him. We used to be so close and the memories leave an aching gap in my chest.

I can remember us sitting by the fire pit in the summer, catching fireflies between s’mores, always coming in and laughing at the end of the night while we washed the grass stains off of our knees and feet. We rode our bikes, side by side, giggling all the way. Every Christmas Eve, we would lie together in my bed waiting for Santa, longing to hear the reindeer on the roof, munching on the carrots we’d left out. Even when we both starting growing up, me going to high school parties while he had his first sleepovers with his friends, we always reunited after to share stories and silly moments we’d had. Every weekend, it was the ritual to camp out in the basement, watching Disney movies, like we were still seven and four, lying in sleeping bags, next to one another while we spilled nominal secrets and made inside jokes.

I try to think about when the weekend sleepovers as we’d come to call them, came to an end. It wasn’t abrupt. We didn’t want to drift apart. There wasn’t one moment of shell shock or one big fight - although we’d had our share of those - that caused the end of our relationship. It was slow and miserable, the kind that doesn’t hurt until you look back and realize you don’t have what you had anymore. I miss him. I’ve missed him for years. I think the silent acknowledgement between us when I went off to college and each time I came home for a break hurt the most. He stopped being artificially cheery when I came home to visit and started spending more and more time in his room until finally, he wouldn’t come out at all, except to eat every once in a while.

I was scared for our reunion. I didn’t want him to be mad at me. I didn’t want us to not be close. It was a weird feeling; I had to watch my closest friend drift away from me over the years.

I’ve met his daughter once. She’s beautiful. She looks just like him, beach blonde hair and shiny blue eyes. He’s always had eyes that eat away at your soul. His wife is a sweetheart, motherly and loving and they all seemed happy together the one time we’d all met. He’s met my oldest son once in passing when we ran into each other at dinner in a small restaurant a few years ago. He’s yet to meet my twin daughters and it kills me. They would love their uncle.

The bell that signals the door opening chimes, over and over and since I’ve been here, I’ve began to zone it out. I look down at my watch, almost 1:30 (punctuality never really was one of his strengths) and I sigh, starting to become frustrated. I glance up, at the door, hopeful, just one more time before I decide to leave, decide I’ve been stood up, when I see him. He looks shocked. Scared, almost. I stand. I don’t know what to say, what to do. He’s walking over toward me when I say his name, “Adam.” He smiles at me and I pull him into a hug. He smells how he’s smelled for as long as I can remember, like Old Spice deodorant and a hint of some sort of fruity shampoo. When he pulls away, he smiles again, yet to say a word and I can see it in his eyes that yes, he’s happy to see me, too.





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