"Andy, can I hug you?"
Her request was simple enough, though a great sense of awe and pure joy filled me as we came together. Soon enough I found myself in her gentle embrace, her lustrous, shadowy hair cast about me. It was all such a wonderful twist of fate; I had been attending the Hannaford Career Center for two years and each day I was thankful for the young woman I shared a desk with. To walk in each afternoon and sit down to see that smile did much to set aside my anxiety. For months we'd illustrate art and discuss it together as friends - though it was hard for me to put into words how much more I wanted to tell her.
There would be no need for that. For in this short, intimate moment, I was able to express what I wasn't able to speak. It was difficult to explain myself, but the knowing smile and calm eyes behind her glasses were enough. She understood my care for her. My heart longed, shouting within me: stay! This is where you belong!
The familiar tone of the dismissing bell caught me off guard. And so I let go and stood there and found the courage to speak.
"Thank you." Nearly forgotten was a stack of paintings and illustrations - which I promptly packed into my padfolio and made for the door. Waiting there for a second, I looked back. This would be the last time I would see her. The last time in a very long while (if even then). I caught one more smile. A face of such mirth and peacefulness that would always remain in my memory.
Then, I left.