Mr Faraway starts to have more Seattle appointments: meetings with architects, and financial aid officers at his teenage daughter’s first-choice college. I think he could probably do much of this by phone, but don’t mention it – because the appointments coincide with dinner the night before. We spend an evening walking around Pike Place Market – it is closed, because we linger over dinner, so instead of looking at craft stands and farmers’ vegetables, we admire totems at a park nearby.
We linger near my car, too, as he says goodnight, and hugs me, and realizes we don’t have plans to get together, and asks about possible dates for that, and then says goodbye again and hugs me again, but then realizes there is just one more thing he forgot to mention all evening.
He kisses my shoulder oh-so-slightly during one of his hugs, but in the end, he says goodnight and watches me drive away, unkissed.
Not long after that, he is passing through town on his way to a conference, and decides to break up the long drive with dinner, with me. We shoehorn a dinner in between the time after I deliver The Child home from choir practice, and before the time he has to hit the road in order to arrive at his hotel by midnight. I end up running a bit late: there’s no power at my house, or my neighbors’. I’m worried about leaving The Child alone with no power, all the more so because the power company needs access to a box in my backyard, and then need to lecture me on the placement of the fence that has been there for 15 years but is now apparently quite problematic.
He waits in the local library, and when I call, he gets lost walking over to the Japanese restaurant where we have dinner and talk about kids and ex-spouses and home improvement projects. He walks me to my car, and I receive a perfunctory hug: he has to go, so as not to be late.
I’ll see you on Friday, friend, he says.