The living room was a disaster of misplaced everything. As if an unsupervised 1-year-old had been unleashed. Indeed, he had. After he yanked the tablecloth off the coffee table, he came over for a hug and tickles. But he squirmed away when he glimpsed his juice box. Now was as good of a time as any to squirt the remaining contents onto the table and floor.
But my mind was elsewhere and so was his mother’s. It was our last evening together before they moved away. Our last talk face-to-face.
We were both pleased by the prospect of a promising future for the little family, but also stunned that this moment was a last. Our last conversation parked on our stained living room couches. The last time I could grin at her as I heaped her plate higher than she wanted. “Eat! Eat!” But she ate every bite of couscous tonight despite the protest that she wasn’t hungry. And she made a dent in the chocolate cupcakes I had made just for her. The ones with cream cheese in the center.
Her son bit the couch cover with a mouthful of chocolate and left a reminder that I would have to scrub out later.
We both hated goodbyes. We talked about the past, the future, black magic, God’s power over Satan, and how God’s power is available to us. She let me pray for her–a long prayer in the name of Jesus.
A spoon dropped over and over onto the accommodating tile until I realized the neighbors below might care and snatched up both little boy and spoon. He giggled as I tipped him upside down.
“I allow very few people to enter my heart, and you are one of them,” she said.
We didn’t cry as we hugged goodbye. Neither did I cry as I scrubbed at the stubborn chocolate stains and wiped up sticky juice puddles. Goodbye was too final to sink in.
It still is.
Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash