I left a lot of friends behind to take a job on the East coast. When you leave somewhere like Colorado for the East coast, you are as good as dead to your friends from the West. People seem to assume that you will somehow be swallowed by the teeming masses of big cities and humidity. When I announced my decision to move, all my friends did the traditional sobbing and email promising.

All except one.
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{ I left }
{ by michael whitney }
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  She wanted one last evening of just her and me. That was her demand in exchange for letting me go, possibly for good. I agreed, of course.

She was not one of my closest friends, but we had bonded over cigarettes and beer many a time. We had a sort of tradition: late night trips to bars with just each other. Every few weeks, one of us would call the other on a whim, we'd meet and we'd just go get drinks, sit in a dark place and talk in hushed voices. Co-dependent alcoholism, we joked.
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  We didn't do it often because her boyfriend hated me. For some reason, he assumed that any two people of the opposite sex who go out to bars together are having an affair. One night, he caught us sitting on her porch – on opposite sides of a dilapidated couch – watching the rain and nursing longnecks. He walked up, scowled for a minute and then, without saying anything, stormed off. She laughed. "I'll make up tomorrow," she said, waving a hand topping off her bottle.

I doubt it would have helped him to know that we never even really touched, except for occasional good-bye hugs.
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  For the one last night, we went to a local bar and settled down at a table in a darkened corner. We had one of those long, rambling, satisfying philosophical discussions that happens between two people who have just enough opinion in common to argue without getting angry.

As the evening wore on, we both started slumping lower in our seats and conversation got more slurred and forthcoming. She started talking about her attraction to one of her professors, a much older man. We tried to figure out a way for her to coax him into asking her out. We debated a dozen different ways to plant subtle hints and manipulate him into a proposition.
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  After a while, we decided she should just walk into his office hours some day and give him a sloppy kiss. It was time to go home.

We walked to her house and I was reeling. She put on old records she liked: slow tunes for the sluggish feeling of coming down and the time of night. A lot of Patsy Cline.

We did a wobbly slow dance around her living room. Slowly, softly, she kissed me on the cheek.

Then she pushed me to the door and said that I should go. Outside, I sat in my car, holding the keys in the ignition. I didn't turn them.
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  The world seemed large and dark. You meet people, you know them and they disappear from your life ... and you may never see them again. I would probably never hear what happened to her or if she ever went out with the professor.

I would sink slowly into her past and she would sink into mine until eventually I never thought of her. If I remembered that night at all, it would be as a footnote, another night in a string of drunken nights I had in college.
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  I wanted very much to remember her just then. I tried to freeze the night in my memory, but I could already feel my hazed brain losing grasp of the details.

I touched the spot on my cheek that she kissed. It was as if I could still feel her lips brushing there lightly. Almost warm.

Her windows went dark. I turned the key and pulled away.

Who have you left?
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