The last time I saw my friend during college was on my Senior year. I don’t recall how it all happened, but he came to visit me.
I think he was on the area for an interview or simply decided to know my life in school the same way I had done with him.
I couldn’t get to the airport, so he rented a car and found his way to my dorm.
It was great seeing him. He was wearing a jacket (a habit that would repeat many times over) and was very happy to have made it.
My residence was an apartment and one of my roommates had brought a sofa, so it became his bed. Funny enough, this piece of furniture would become another item that would serve me well.
The memories of those few days are sketchy, but I took him to dinner to an Italian restaurant I loved.
During dinner we got up to date again about the future and, as always, he had a plan. He was checking stocks on certain airlines and according to what he was seeing and learning about the companies, he would then decide on which one to apply to.
He knew he would probably have to move if an opportunity occurred, but he was fine with it. He knew he couldn’t be that choosy if he wanted to make anything good of his aspiring career.
While at dinner, he mentioned to me that his maternal grandmother wasn’t doing well. All of a sudden, he slouched down in the chair, looked sideways and got really emotional to the brink of almost crying.
I had the chance of meeting her. She meant a lot to him because, after his parents’ divorce and his mom going back to work, the grandma was the one who basically raised him.
I was shocked at how vulnerable he became, as I had never seen him like this. He had always been the strong one for both, the one that never let anything bring him down.
I sat there, frozen, not knowing what to do. I suddenly reached out and grabbed his hand across the table.
But, unfortunately, he remained as he was. He didn’t acknowledge what I did or said anything to my remark of, ‘she’ll be fine’.
It was as if I wasn’t there, as in someone else in his life had surpassed me in every aspect, even if I was just a friend in a total different relationship with him.
His hand felt cold and distant, his demeanor one that I had never seen of him and got me confused.
But I didn’t give it much thought back then other than to consoling him was the right thing to do.
It would be a few decades later when many traits of his would resurface again with another woman in his life that would greatly alter the friendship I thought we had.
And it would be pretty much as in this moment, distant, instant and cold. Instead of holding hands, he used it against me, and other, to create a block that no universal force could break apart.