Semester of Change (January 2019, Round 2, Day 2)
“I’ll be back. Really.” Maxton kissed the top of Brenda’s head and rested his forehead against hers before adding, “you’ll be fine.”
“I’ll be fine enough.” Brenda leaned in to Maxton, taking the opportunity to memorize as much as she could about him. “I’ll probably even be here when you get back.”
“Not funny, Brenda.”
“Humor breaks tension, Maxton.”
“Except for when it creates it.”
Brenda smiled. He was still him even as he prepared to leave. “True true. I will, of course, be here, pining away at the loss of you and doing nothing but dreaming of your return. The months will fly by as I waste away watching for your shadow to cross the threshold once more.” When Maxton folded his arms across his chest and glowered at her she put her hands up in the air and said, “Right – wrong script. I meant to say that, while I’ll be incredibly busy with all that surrounds me with options for occupying my time and throughts I will, of course, always have you in my mind’s eye and will mark the passage of the days between now and your return by writing a sonnet daily as the sun sets as a way to declare my undying love to you. You can read them all upon your triumphant return.” Brenda raised her eyebraows and asked, “better?”
“Something between the two would be just fine. It’s just a semester – you’ll hardly notice I’m gone.”
“Yeah, right. Somewhere between your extreme and mine lies the truth of the matter.” She pulled herself onto the kitchen counter. “Only time will tell.”
“That’s the one thing we both have right. Three months.”
The hugs and kisses and words of farewell took another little while for them to work through. By the time the door closed behind him, Maxton’s feelings were so twisted up with Brenda’s words that he was too confused to show, or know, really, any emotion. He’d been dreading this day for weeks and, now that he’d done it, didn’t know what else to spend his brainpower on. He could feel Brenda behind him, watching through the window, and wanted to be clear of her so he had the opportunity to start missing her.
Maxton shifted the weight of his backpack to his center and startede down the sidewalk. “Adventure awaits,” he said to the empty street. Brenda had been his last goodbye on purpose. He’d lived in this town his whole life and was ready to be clear of it, even if it meant not seeing Brenda or his family for a full semester. If he let honesty win he was looking forward to the break from all of them.
The walk to the bus stop was disappointingly uneventful. He stood alone in the shelter waiting for his low-class chariot to arrive and daydreaming about what he might find when he got to his destination. He saw the bus turning down the street just as a large man joined him at the stop.