I slipped away in the rain to head north last Wednesday evening for I’d plans to go see my friend Michael & pick up some growlers from Upland Brewery for the Doctor’s dinner this Tuesday.

It was a long & wet drive, lonely too for I couldn’t even roll down the windows to listen to the tires sing, or enjoy the smell of the rain or the scents of the countryside as it slipped past my window mile after mile.

But I knew I was going to be seeing Michael & this is always a good thing to focus on b/c good friends are the trimming edges of whom we ourselves have become & he is a good friend to me & has been for over five years now.

He wants more than a friendship but it is more to than I have to offer right now so we stay friends & simply enjoy each other’s company when we can. We never voice this aloud but it is there, hanging between us more tangible & obvious than the wipers now slapping against my rainy windscreen.

I splashed thru a hundred miles of rain that was sluicing over my KIA in buckets. I sang along w/Alison Kraus, Tracy Chapman, Don Henley, 3rd Eye Blind & WFPK for awhile & all along I was getting closer to a town I enjoy visiting & the smile of a friend who I wish lived closer.

I pulled into the restaurant where we’d planned to have supper & he was standing under the awning waiting for me. The look I got from those blue eyes let me know that he missed me as much as I missed him & I’d not laid eyes on him since March.

(sometimes- it is so good to be missed)

We sat next to each other & talked and laughed, had some delicious steaks along w/other dinner type fare, then thought about dessert but both of us were too full. We conversed a bit longer & then left splashing thru the rain while holding hands.

(it is also nice to hold hands sometimes even if it is the hand of a good friend instead of a lover)

We had a lovely evening just hanging out, listening to jazz & talking. Then he dropped me off @ my hotel to shower & crash while he went home to his daughter.

In the morning we met for brunch after his meeting @ work & we sat in Cracker Barrel & talked for quite a long time after my delicious & maple-y pancakes were long gone & his plate too was empty.

The fact he actually LIKES to talk to me & about most any subject is a HUGE plus in our friendship. I like to listen to his voice & watch his expressions while he speaks b/c he tends to smile a lot & this causes those warm gingersnap crinkles around his soft blue eyes to deepen & his smile more genuine.

We ended up spending the day together, stopping @ Upland’s to purchase my growlers, then to the market, then to Dick’s Sporting Goods, ran a few errands, then stopped @ the cinema to watch ‘Fool’s Gold’ which wasn’t a bad flick when viewed w/friendly company in the dark.

Afterwards we went to a hole in the wall to munch upon some golden crispy fries & warm melty grilled cheese sandwiches that to our surprise, we both slid thru pools of salty/sweet red ketchup before we bit them. We talked as we ate & found out a few things we both needed to know & suddenly-

it was time for me to go & I realised I really didn’t want to, not just yet for it would be another month- 6wks before I saw him again.

So we drove around a bit longer, just talking but time was against us & I had to leave- HAD to for not only did I need to get home to my children, but the KIA is out a headlamp again so it was best I get home before dark.

He slowly took me to my car (left in the parking lot of his workplace) & we said our goodbyes even tho neither of us wanted to. He hugged me & his arms were firm & warm & I realised I like the way his rich sea-blue eyes look into my chocolate ones & that I also like the feel of his arms around me but-

I can’t go there.

So I kissed his cheek & he held my hand for a moment neither of us saying a word this time & a silence filled with unspoken words & unvoiced thoughts can be OH, so very deafening.

Then I got into my car & again I slipped away in the rain only this time- away from him & heading south.

It was a long & wet drive, lonely too for I couldn’t even roll down the windows to listen to the tires sing, or enjoy the smell of the rain or the scents of the countryside as it slipped past my window mile after mile.

But even tho these miles took me away from him,
I knew my kids were waiting for me to come home
Just as he had been waiting for me to come there
& I needed to see them for I missed them even if I’d only been gone
not even 24hrs yet.

I have so many wonderful people in this life.
Not only my children & sisters, but OH so many many more.
I don’t know what I did to ever be so blessed beyond measure for those who mean so very much to me, to have come to be considered in my heart as friends & whom have touched my life in some way even if it is just around its frayed edges & yeah-

Even if they live 100 miles away from my doorstep,
they are still right here in my heart whenever I think of them
& I do-
quite often.
& I think of the warmth of his hand in mine & I realise-
I can’t go there.

I have to stay on this side of friendship no matter how hard it is to do so & I realise I am going to have to watch my step
EVERY step in this friendship I have with this man 100 miles from my doorstep.

if for nothing else but because my life is here and his-?

Is there

& 100 miles…

is such an achingly long distance between