from Wild Thoughts: A Floral Guide to Feeling by Garrett Huon

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When the last box is packed and loaded into the truck, he stands bored at the sidewalk while he waits for his friend to come back from the bathroom. It’s 7 AM and cold. The dew forming on the grass wets the cuffs of his jeans as he shuffles to stay warm. He knows the car offers a nice, dry place to sit, but he’ll be sitting for at least ten hours. Going home. He’s going home, and he wants to be okay with it.

“Ready?” His friend appears at the driver’s side door.

A shrug rolls off his shoulders. He won’t commit to an answer. His friend thankfully doesn’t pressure him to respond, just climbs into the car and starts it. He continues to stand outside a few moments longer even though they should hit the road sooner rather than later. Shuffling. Shivering. Waiting. His phone stays silent all the while.

It’s another five minutes before he finally opens the door and gets in the car. “Let’s go,” he says, trying to sound like leaving isn’t the worst thing ever. Like saying goodbye is easy. Then they’re pulling out of the driveway.

He checks his phone when they get downtown. Then again at the ramp leading to the highway. Again when they’re going seventy on the interstate. But there is nothing there waiting for him.

“She would have called by now.” His friend has a scowl draped over his face, and he’s glaring at the road in front of them. “I know you wanted it to work. I do. But sometimes…people grow apart, and it’s no one’s fault.”

He lays his head against the window and closes his eyes. It’s a speech he’s heard before, one that is a little too true to bear. He’s aware that he’s waiting for something that will never happen. He’s aware that the relationship is over. But that’s not what he’s after. It just would have been nice to have a reason to stay. He shoves his phone into the glove compartment and shuts it, pulling out a book instead.

He’s going home.