The Hug

The unexpected text message read: meet me at the promenade. I had to scan it a dozen times before I could stand.

“I’m going on break. Be back in a half-hour or so.”

The boss grunted, shooed me away with a distracted wave.

He was already there, pacing back and forth. I felt his eyes flitting, searching another corner.

My mind chattered with possibilities. My body moved forward, stopping short. Once recognized, I stood there pinned as an insect under glass.

“Marie.” His voice, my name. A face known, yet strained with pain. “You came.”

I nodded and stood spellbound, my throat suddenly arid. A voice in my head had gathered volume and drown the others. Run, Marie. You shouldn’t be here. The voice called Brokenhearted.

His blue eyes rimmed so red searched my own. Buffeted, I held on, trying to ground myself on the deep sound of a passing barge.

Something was wrong. What was I afraid of? The worst had already happened, hadn’t it? He’d already left me.

He looked down at his shoes, the ones I’d bought him last Christmas.

“She died, Marie.”

She? Did he mean his mother?

“I …” He choked. “I just wanted a hug.”


Photo is copyright by Vincent Anderlucci. cc

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