So on a Monday evening, Mr Faraway calls me to let me know that he is on the ferry, and an hour later, we meet in front of a Southwestern restaurant in my suburb’s small downtown. I decide immediately that it’s too crowded and noisy, and he doesn’t mind the sudden change in plans. We go around the corner to a neighborhood staple, where we sit in a booth and talk.
We talk for hours, about genealogy and travel and our kids and what we studied in college.
We talk until the restaurant officially closes, but they let us stay at the table as long as we want, so we stay on, talking.
Finally we move on, and he suggests we walk around the town a bit. It’s changed a lot since I was last here, he says.
We walk together, and he puts an arm around me as we do, then takes it away quickly. We look in windows, and as we check out the offerings of an art gallery, I feel that same urge as before – to just step slightly to the side, and his arm will be around me.
But I’m afraid he will move it away again, so I don’t.
Finally, he walks me to my car, where I receive a warm goodnight hug instead of the kiss I am expecting.
I drive home, but as I leave, I can see him in the car mirror, standing there, watching me depart, not moving on until I am completely gone from view.
I’m confused, again; again I play the evening over in my mind, trying to see if it went wrong somewhere.
But as I drive home, it dawns on me: he has driven nearly four hours – and will drive another four hours back – just to sit and talk with me about nothing in particular.