Bob arrived just before 5:30 am to begin our last run in Maryland together. I was emotional going into the run. I talked his ear off about EVERYTHING besides the fact that this was going to be our last run for a while. Sure, I have plans to go to Lynchburg, VA and visit with him and he may return to MD to run Parks Half Marathon with me, but... it will NEVER be the same.
He won't be just down the street. I won't just happen to stop by his house on an afternoon bike ride with the kids. We may never run hill sprints over our 4 million dollar bridge.
Once we hit the half way point and turned around, I finally had courage... to let him talk. I asked him a lot of questions, trying to see how he was feeling about the move. I am sure this part of his life is exciting (don't we all crave the day until retirement?) and scary. Bob is a tough guy, holding everything in.... but when you spend hours with someone on the path, you get to know them in a way that it may take others years to achieve. I know his stride, his breathing, his laugh... it is a kind of intimacy that few friends experience, especially with a male/female friendship. We have it.
As we approached the parking lot, Bob started to pick up the pace and the lump in my throat got bigger. It is really hard to explain... a tear welled-up. I tried to keep up with him... but I didn't want the run to end. (BTW: We hit 6:15 coming into the finish).
I know this isn't goodbye. I KNOW I am going to see him again. After all, we ARE running RIC together in November... but it will never be the same. I think a part of me is jealous too. I am jealous that he will have a new running partner... maybe I will be easily replaced.
But that new running partner... better treat him well. He is a keeper. Oscar Wilde once wrote: "Anybody can sympathise with the sufferings of a friend, but it requires a very fine nature to sympathise with a friend's success." Oh.... this is so Bob. He was as happy for me as I was about my marathon finish and truly EVERY accomplishment. When I texted him that I had won 3rd overall female last Monday, his first thought was to find pictures of me... despite me telling him that it was an awful race.
Bob is awesome. I feel like a better person for having met him. I could go on and on... but the rest, my friends, I will keep to myself.
Bob, this isn't goodbye... this IS see you later!