Saturday came quietly and unassumingly. I woke up on the couch to gaze outside at one of the first warm, dewy mornings of Spring. This was the day of my meeting with Eddie, but first Kaylee was on her way over.
Funny that they should both come see me on the same day, one right after another. I hadn't seen Kaylee in ages.
She arrived shortly after breakfast with a knock on the door and a housewarming gift of peanut butter and jelly cookbooks in her hands. It was a breath of fresh air to see her.
We sat on the couch and caught up. She took the opportunity to get to know Joseph a little more. To ask the important questions, such as, "What is your stance on duct tape?"
"I think it's incredibly useful."
"Good. I just had to check. You can tell a lot about a person by how they feel about duct tape."
I had only just told her that Eddie was coming to see me later when he called me. I excused myself and answered my phone.
"Hey... I um... I'm really sorry Sarah, but um... I got bit by a spider, I think? A really nasty one. And I'm awful woozy. I'm afraid I'll have to cancel our meeting today."
"Oh! Awe, I'm sorry you got bitten! Do you think you should go to a doctor?"
"No... no, it wasn't that kind of spider... "
"Oh, ok. Well you can come another weekend if you want to..."
"Yeah. Yeah, okay. Alright, I'll call you."
That kind of figured. I didn't really think he would come. I went back inside and resumed my lovely chat with Kaylee. We were having so much fun together, I barely noticed the hours passing. Suddenly my phone rang again.
"Hey Sarah, I'm almost in Cullowhee, can I get some directions to your house?"
"What? I thought you got bitten by a spider and you were too sick to drive!"
"No, no, it turns out I'm fine."
"Oh. Okay... "
I gave Eddie directions and hopped off the phone. Kaylee stood up and said it was about time for her to get going anyway. She wasn't sure how to get back on the highway, so I said I would lead her to the Papa's Pizza parking lot and we could say goodbye there.
In the parking lot, I climbed out of my car and into hers to hug her goodbye. She asked if she could pray for me before she left. If we could pray for each other.
Sometimes it's awkward to be prayed for. Sometimes it is almost painful. And sometimes, it is one of the most life-giving, uplifting experiences there is.
Praying with Kaylee was absolutely wonderful. I knew that God was with us, holding us and every broken piece of us in His hands as we brought our hearts to Him. It was hard to say goodbye to her and get back in my car to go home and wait for Eddie.
It wasn't much longer before Eddie's giant truck pulled into our driveway. He came into our kitchen, shook hands with Joseph, and asked me if I wanted to go for a walk.
I did very much want to go for a walk. I gave Joseph a goodbye squeeze and off we went.
Through the little valley and out onto the road.
"So, what's up?" He asked, staring at the pavement.
I knew this was it. There was no reason to hold back right now. No reason to be shy with my words.
"Eddie, we were friends. Like, really really good friends. Before I went to Australia. Do you remember that?"
"Yes. I do remember that."
"Then, why did you go away? You went away, Eddie! It wasn't okay that you did that. I just... I don't understand."
He was quiet for a little while. I walked beside him with my arms crossed.
"I knew that I was going to graduate and move away, so I distanced myself."
"Because. Because I was going away. I don't know..."
"I understand that sometimes people do that... but... but it hurts, Eddie. You can't get that close to people and then just go away randomly."
"Yeah... I shouldn't have done that. Hey, "
I smiled a little, but that didn't mean he was off the hook.
"I noticed there was a peanut butter and jelly cookbook on your counter..." he said.
"Yeah, Kaylee came over earlier. She brought that to us as a housewarming gift."
"Oh! I'm sorry, I didn't bring anything..." he paused, "... Next time I'll bring something."
"Next time? Like there will be a next time! You won't come back, I know you!" I teased.
"Oh you. There will be a next time, and you know it."
As our walk took us onto campus, he was telling me that he understood what I was doing here. That there was a girl he had cared for since high school who he had always secretly believed he would end up with. He said that so many times he had come to her to talk about it and every time she had said no no no.
He said that once, he had gone to her house and filled her sink up with rocks. Except that one rock was plastic and floaty. On the floaty "rock" he had written in Sharpie, "You rise above the rest."
Even that wasn't enough to woo her.
Our walk took us under the bell tower, over the sidewalk we had walked to class on so many times, through the crosswalk where I had given him the note about pink elephants and friendship, and all the way up to the graveyard. We stood at Hattie's tombstone where we used to meet up.
We talked about his tendency to lead girls on. He swore that he couldn't tell when girls liked him.
"This girl Heather that I just met has been leaving me things in my truck. Cd's and T-shirts, fun things!"
"Yeah, I'd be careful about that." I winked. "And... Eddie?"
"Please value the people that get close to you. They value you. So much. You are a phenomenal person, whether you believe it or not. You sell yourself short when you blow off the people who love you. Stop that."
I was thinking that he pushed people away because he was afraid they wouldn't care about him as much as he did about them. I had no way to know if that was the case or not, but if it was, I wanted him to know that nobody was pretending to care about him. They all cared. Tremendously. And I didn't believe they would ever stop caring.
He was suppressing a grin. "Okay, Sarah. I'll try."
We talked about Maggie as we walked through the parking lots of our old dorms. He said so many sweet things about her, but he sounded on the fence about their relationship.
One the way back towards my house, we went through the part of campus where we had planned our attack on the snowmen. It was like God was following us around with a dustpan and a broom and sweeping the memories of our friendship up behind us as we walked and talked out our issues.
When we got back to my driveway, I was about to hug him goodbye and he told me to wait a second.
"I have something for you", he stated, reaching into his truck, "Well, actually, it's for Joe."
He came out with a little school-lunch sized carton of 2% milk.
"What? What is this..." I was confused.
"It's your 2%." He beamed, "I brought it back for you."
I stared at him. "Oh... Thank you!"
He came into the kitchen to say goodbye to Joseph and then he was on his way.
Finally, after all that time, closure had come to me like a giant sigh of relief.