7:40am, 18 December 2013

December 18th, 2013, 2pm

It was 5°C with scattered clouds. The breeze was gentle.

“Are you going to be okay?”

I could barely choke out the words.

I felt more than saw him nod. Barely, at first, then with an admirable bit of strength.

“Why do you want to spend time with me?”

He took a deep breath.

“It’s like my best friend has cancer and we know when your time is up. I want to spend every minute with you until the clock runs out.”

It felt like a scene from a movie. It looked like a scene from a movie. The sky was a wash of pastel paint, pinks and golds. Arcade Fire— our marriage break-up album— was on the radio as we hummed along with the flow of early morning traffic to the airport. The sting of tears— you know, that half-sneeze, half eyes welling feeling— choked me up and I could see out of the driest corner of my eye that he was unsuccessfully holding back tears of his own. [ that’s the part that really kills me. Seeing his pain and choosing not to reach out to take it as my own burden. I can’t save him, I reminded myself. He has to save himself. ] The sunrise glinted through his golden hair, face lit beautifully by the slowly awakening morning. I drove the speed limit. No need to rush this moment along.

Thankfully— for both of us— the airport departure zone was a scramble of stuffing extra clothes and a muddy pair of running shoes into a carry on bag. No time for dramatics or last pleas, just a one-armed hug and a mutual acknowledgement that this was it. He looked over at me through the terminal window and I raised my hand to wave, but impatient cars behind me urged me to pull away.

It was 7:40 am. I took a screenshot of my phone and drove away.

Kristen, Adrian, Cassie and Craig said thanks.

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Stephanie Marie

A make-it-happen kind of girl. My worlds: a steeplechaser sponsored by New Balance and training with Furman Elite in Greenville, SC | The Fête Blog | Be Loved PR | University of Virginia grad

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