“Maybe we could just leave,” I told my friend Kathy as we watched the people walk by the bench we were sitting on.
“Go to the airport?” Kathy suggested.
“Buy a ticked for Nowhere, Anywhere. Hop on that plane and see as the world becomes as round as we’ll ever see it,” I replied, thinking of the yummy pretzels they sometimes hand out on planes.
“Let’s make it international.”
“Yes! Then we can have the TV’s with good movies during the flight,” I said with a wishful smile.
“There might even be a yummy flight attendant,” she stated casually and then looked over and smiled at me. “Or maybe there would be two.”
“Yes please. I just want to leave, get away from the dullness here,” I said as we watched a weird, ugly red car drive by.
We both digested for a moment.
She sighed. “I know, I know. But there isn’t a way for that to happen with a good outcome.”
Her reply reminded me of what we had. She could read what I was thinking and know how I felt about it without me explaining it. We hadn’t known each other for too long, but we knew a lot about each other and interacted quite well nonetheless.
An old man walked by us and stared about ten seconds longer than anyone wants to be stared at by an old man.
“We could have left with him, he seemed very keen on taking us home,” I pointed out, giving Kathy an I-know-you-want-to look.
“I was picturing more of a paradise. Either Maui or Madrid, something nice,” she responded, a look of sadness crossing her face.
I knew I had gone too far.
Those were the times I couldn’t believe she would be my friend, the times when I brought her down with my negativity to my critically realistic look of life.
I forced a smile. It looked real. I knew because faking a smile was something I did more often than I let myself think back in those days. “Oh, I bet he’s got a winter vacation house in Maui.”
She smiled back, because she was someone who I could train to smile when I wanted them to smile. Someone who I knew I had that sort of charismatic authority with, who I could make feel better even if I was lying about how I felt or who I thought I was.
“Well, here comes the bus, so we are leaving. Just not quite the direction you were hoping,” she told me, laughter in her eyes. And I felt a little bit better.
Or maybe I was faking it.