A little ahead of Christmas, I send Mr. Faraway a package, containing a card, the birthday gift I never gave him, and a scarf I had knit for him the Christmas before, but couldn’t finish in time. It goes out in the mail the same day as several other packages, and though I receive messages that those have arrived at their various destinations, I only know his package has arrived by checking the tracking number.
I message him on Facebook, the day after Christmas, wishing him a happy Boxing Day, and receive a quick reply: The same to you and yours. A beautiful scarf, thank you so much. Hope you have a great Friday.
Then he’s off for a day’s sightseeing.
It doesn’t take long for me to see who he’s sightseeing with, because she tags him in pictures, and he mentions the fact that he’s on a date or part of a couple in every Yelp review he posts.
A Christmas card arrives a few days into the New Year. The front of the card says Merry Christmas!! above a photo, and “Season’s Greetings” below, in quotation marks as though it’s intended ironically. Inside the card is the key I had given him, mailed to the home whose door it opens, and an overly effusive thank you note, punctuated exclusively with exclamation marks. He wishes me laughter and joy! He loved the gifts!
I tuck the card away and put the key back into its drawer.
A few weeks later, The Child announces she no longer wants to participate in the children’s group that he and I both sit on the Board of – it’s too much work and not enough fun, she says. I see her point, and decide to give him one last gift: our resignations. I call Mr. Faraway and let him know; we’re backing out of the Nominating Committee he chairs, she won’t be their next president after all.
He responds with the same effusive cheer as his card. Well, okay! Thanks for letting me know!
We’ll have no reason to see each other, now, not counting things like Facebook, where we’re still officially friends – but then, I’m officially friends with a lot of people I don’t really know, online.