A Way to Understand

Two guys were waiting on the pier. The boat was far away, they could not hear the motor yet. They were both young, but one of them was a year older. That makes all the difference at that age.

“Do you think a man and a woman can be friends?” asked the younger one. He was holding a tome of Ted Hughes.

“Isn’t that a cliche?” said the older one.

“I don’t know. I guess it is.”

“I have a theory on the subject,” said the older one. “You meet a girl, in a clearly platonic way, right? You spend time together and you begin to feel something usually, some attraction. It lasts a little while and then you realize nothing can happen. That’s the situation you’re thinking about, right?”

“Yeah,” said the younger slowly.

“So you feel the pains of love unrequited and so on. That lasts a good while, until you fall out of love.  Then you can be really good friends. This bond will last a long time, and you will always have a special place for her in your heart. She will feel it and she will be your friend too.”

“Has that happened to you?” asked the younger one.

“Yeah.”

“Isn’t that a cliche too?”

“I don’t know.”

The roar of the motor could be heard now. The younger man looked hard to see her ghostly shape on board, but she was not visible. His heart ached.

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