It was a sweet, almost chaste kiss. Our lips meeting tenderly. Softly. A long overdue expression of the deep love we felt for each other. Lips moving gently together. It lasted longer than I expected. Neither wanted it to end.
Don’t get me wrong. It was not romantic love, for several reasons. But it was still love.
We had met---well how we met does not really matter. It was six months ago. At first a lot of flirting, then sexy online conversations. Then talk about our dissatisfactions in life.
Then it changed. She pulled back. I suspected she decided she was not interested in me romantically, but for some reason we kept talking. We openly resolved to become friends, and that is what we did. Great friends. Friends who can talk about anything, who share everything. Friends who cannot wait for the next email or text, who smile in a goofy way when one arrives. Through ups and downs, joys and disappointments, we were friends.
And we loved each other. Sure, there were reasons never to have reached that unlikely result. I was old enough to be her father. We were married, although to other people. However, we were also a lot alike, subject to the same weaknesses, dealing with the same sources of unhappiness. Struggling with frustrations that seemed mirror images and getting into trouble as a result. We saw each other through our ups and downs.
But we did not get into trouble with each other. We were each other’s greatest cheerleader. We wanted all that was good and happy for the other. We cried when the other cried and laughed together. I had a few sleepless nights when I knew she was miserable.
Other than a fleeting encounter early in our friendship, we had not spent any time together until three months had passed. We finally got together for lunch and then again two months later. There is something about being in each other's presence that even gives additional life to digital communication. I can close my eyes and see her smile and hear her laugh.
“Let’s get together for lunch each month,” I said.
She loved the idea.
The next month marked six since we met. We tried a restaurant unknown to either, although we both knew the restaurant did not matter. Neither did the food. We sat and talked and laughed and cried. Old friends do that. We looked into each other’s eyes and saw love. We wanted time to stop or the moments to drag by, but the best moments in life accelerate to an early close. All too soon we both sensed it was time to go.
I walked her to her car and opened the door. We had never shared any physical contact, so we stood a little awkwardly, not quite wanting to leave but searching for an appropriate close. Then I hugged her. She held me tight. No words. None were needed. We knew what we felt, a deep friendship and love that defied description or explanation or definition. I felt a little silly for the tears in my eyes, but I was supremely happy.
The hug ended, as they all must. I saw matching tears in her eyes. I leaned in and kissed her on the cheek.
“Thanks,” I whispered.
“Thanks for being such a wonderful friend.”
She pulled her head back a little. A tear ran down her cheek. She moved toward me. She was not aiming for my cheek. Her lips parted.
“Wait!” I said. “Promise me this will not ruin anything in our friendship.”
“Just kiss me. Please.”
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