IAWTW: I Always Wanted to Write, is Chris Donner’s relatively new weekly writing challenge. To check out this week’s challenge, go HERE. You can also click on the bubble to see the main page for the IAWTW with a list of previous challenges.
This week we were given a short text with the possibility to fill in some blanks and to get creative as we wanted with it. I like getting creative. 🙂 Since there is no word limit I kind of allowed myself some freedom with this, and ended up with a short tale of over 500 words, I hope you won’t find it too long.
The opening line was: It had been ___ years since I had seen _____ (name), my best friend in ______. There are a few other sentences included, and I switched a couple around. Chris’s challenges are all about getting creative, after all. So without further ado, here is my short tale.
Reunion 545 words
It had been 100 years since I had seen Patrick, my best friend in the Interstellar Space program. Of course, all but 20 of those years had been spent in a hibernation pod aboard the Titanium. The last 20 had been here on Trellex 2.
We hadn’t planned on spending all those years apart from each other. We were both scheduled for the same mission, but Patrick was held back at the last minute, a medical glitch, easily fixable, but not within the time frame.
I still remember the last time we spoke, in a small coffee shop, back on Earth, the day before I set off on the mission. I was devastated by the news, as was Patrick. We had been more than friends, they called it “friends with benefits” back then, but we both knew we weren’t ready for a long term commitment. Yet the mission was to be the test, in a sense. We talked forever in that small café, both of us wanting to put off the moment of goodbyes.
Then he looked me in the eyes, and said what I most feared, “Do you want me to ask you to stay?” I remember thinking what an odd question, as my heartbeat pounded in my chest. Not, “Would you stay if I asked?”, but rather “Do you want me to ask?”. As I stared into his eyes, I knew he was serious, that if I said yes, he would ask me to stay behind, go on the next mission five years down the line. I also knew that if he asked, I would stay.
My throat closed on me, and it was all I could do to whisper the words, “No. Please, don’t.” I knew it was the right decision, as did he, but tears rose in his eyes, mirroring mine. He reached out and held my hand, nodding acceptance. Neither of us could speak for awhile. When we finally hugged, and shared a long kiss goodbye, knowing it was the last made it as sweet as it was sad. That was such a long time ago…
Who would have thought we’d meet by accident like this, in a coffee shop in the middle of Tryton City? What were the chances of this happening? Yet, here we were, strangers, together after all these years. We were both older by 20 years, but I’d have known him anywhere. When our eyes first met across the coffee shop, it was as if no time had passed. All the old feelings rushed in. Patrick lifted me up in a huge bear hug, planting a kiss on my mouth, and then he laughed out loud in delight.
We grabbed our coffee and sat in a small booth across from each other, each of us grinning like Cheshire cats. It was such a wonderful feeling, vivid and scary, and so very impossible. Our hands, drawn like magnets, touched in the middle of the booth. We both looked down at the same time.
On his left hand, as on mine: wedding rings. Our eyes met, a touch of sadness at what might have been. The moment passed and we smiled in harmony. No more benefits. But forever, friends.