He’s at work. You know this because you have taken great pains to pay attention to his schedule. He’ll be leaving around 4:30, and it’s 11:00 now. It would be considered nonchalant if she dropped by and brought him food. Men regarded women getting them food warmly, and she was eager for his smiles.
She brought him a subway sandwich she knew he’d enjoy. When he saw her, her pulled her in for a brief hug. It was enough to satiate the yearning inside her enough to almost make her pleasurably sigh in his arms. Almost. She held back, and she smiled up at him, her heart in her eyes.
He never kissed her. They were very careful about that, although the opportunity had come up every now and then. She was sorely tempted. She was smitten, in love. She would take what she could get.
She was married. She should not be craving another man so ardently, but it’s happened. He treated her with such care and friendship it made her ache to be away from him. He listened to her petty woes and concerns and he didn’t get bored talking to her. When they had worked together on calm Sunday nights, he was the one to come and find her. He was the one that kindled their friendship.
Before he came around, she felt a certain distance between herself and her other coworkers. She noticed when her bright and flirtatious coworker Sara was around, people perked up and came visiting at the front desk. When it was just Carmen by herself, she noticed the same people rushed by with things to do rather than stopping to chat with her. Chad was the only one who approached her even though she was standoffish at times.
He lingered by the front desk and wormed his way into her heart. He was such an apt listener, she found herself saying things to him she was afraid to say to anyone else.
She should be able to have such conversations with her husband, but he was uninterested in the things that made her worry through the night. He was quick to soothe her frazzled nerves by telling her it was time for her to smoke, distracting her from the fact he wasn’t willing to share himself with her. He would rather she smoke and fill her head with false pleasure.
Chad listened to her. Chad said uplifting things. Chad was understanding and encouraging. Chad reminded her she had power she’d forgotten she once had. He was nice to her, and he asked her things. He spent time with her and shared himself with her. When she left that job she worked with him, she was dry-eyed with everyone else as she bid her goodbyes. But not him.
It was only Chad that made her weak. She managed to hold back the tears in front of him, just barely. She walked with him out to his car on their final day together, and she slipped him a letter she’d written.
She gave him a heartfelt hug and honestly said, “Thank you for being a friend to me.” She doubted he had any idea how much that meant to her; it meant the world. She felt wrong telling him goodbye.
When she looked into his face, a flash of everything they could have had in another world came to her. She missed him already, and her arms were still wrapped around him.
Afterwards, he got into his car and she walked away. She didn’t look back as she rounded the corner of the building away from him. Farewell. Her heart was pounding, and she couldn’t hold back her hot tears any longer. Parting was such sweet sorrow.