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November 6, 2012

It was a quiet fall afternoon.  The kids weren’t home from school yet.  Scott was at work.  Beth wasn’t due to arrive from the airport for another hour.  And a cozy perch was prepared in the back corner of the lawn.  In a small pocket of sun that she loved to sit in.

Richard carried the stack of blankets outside and layered them up.  Soft and high.  A respite from the hard metal of the lounge chairs and the cold hardness of life.  I began settling into some work at the kitchen table to let him have some time with his daughter when he came inside.

“It’s ready for you,” he told me.  She stood up out of bed, unsteady on her feet.  White knuckling the walker.  So determined to have the strength a 36 year old woman should have, fighting the deterioration that the cancer had caused. Slowly, she made her way outside.

Richard tucked her into the nest he carefully built, brought her phone and the stack of papers she’d been wanting to read, and left us for the airport.  Pandora played quiet hymns from her lap.  I tugged the blanket tight and swallowed emotion down hard.

This is it, I thought.  This is where we say all the things we’ve ever wanted to say.

I only realized later that we had lived our entire friendship that way.  And when it came down to the final stretch, we had already said it all.  I don’t know how long we sat there like that.  Not talking.  With the sun shining our skin warm and November leaves making their last slow dance off the trees.  But I do know it’s a vivid moment that is forever locked in the most cherished parts of me.

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