How many times had they sat opposite this very table from one another? Dozens. A hundred? They had been friends for years, him and her. Seen each other through thin times and thick. Friends. Good friends. She through a divorce. He through a massive breakup (though he would never tell her what all went wrong between them).
They’d cooked each other fresh homemade meals. Critiqued one another’s writings. He a poet, she a story-teller. They told each other the good things and the bad things and the menial things in life.
Scarcely a day went by where they didn’t meet for coffee or text a quick note or email an incidental photograph or, like today, meet for a game of cribbage and maybe dinner in a bit. They were the best of friends and they shared life together.
He embraced her lifelong scars while she covered his heart from tormenting darkness. As occasionally happens in these instances, they had slowly stripped the protective layers from one another. Until the day came that they had bared their innermost souls to one another.
They were dear friends. He couldn’t picture a day without her there with him. She dared not imagine a night gone by without him there at a moment’s notice.
So tonight, they sit across from one another, just another day from the pile of days behind them. He said something, something small, insignificant really, but his eyes glittered when he accused her of cheating once again, she threw her head back in that exuberant way she threw herself into anything and laughed. Hard and loud, until the laughter settled into giggles as she lay down another winning hand.
He smiled at her, shaking his head slowly. Then unexpectedly something ignited within his heart. Something he thought didn’t exist. He reached across the table and pulled her hand into his. She lifted her eyes to his and they widened in recognition, her smile loosened its grip, as her whole world came crashing down around her and everything instantly changed…
tara caribou | ©2019