You called today. You tried several weeks ago but I was busy, or not interested or maybe just not ready. But today you were on my calendar, in ink, a slice of time before the day began. We started with general phone pleasantries inquiring about kids and houses, health and summer vacations. But if I’m honest, what I really wanted to ask was…“Do you miss me?”

Tell me it’s been a long couple of months…that the new workplace isn’t as stimulating or productive without me in the mix. Let me know that I’m important to the creative process and that you wonder if you’ll ever have someone point out the things you need to know. All those things I’m dying to hear. But I don’t ask that.

Instead, I fall into the easy give and take of general chatter. Tell me a story, I ask. And you indulge and slowly I begin to color in a picture of your new friends and colleagues, your commute to work and how you’re starting to fill your time with hobbies and interests. It sounds charming and for a brief moment I forget that you’re not HERE anymore—you’re on an extended holiday and coming back soon with pictures and souvenirs to share. It’s all so natural and appears like nothing has changed. But it has.

You were concerned and asked how things were going. An invitation to go deeper and I chickened out. I played it safe and didn’t tell you that I am anxious and often doubt the next step. To be honest, I’m tired of anticipating the “What if’s” and long for casual encounters that include some of the same qualities you brought to the table…humility, grace and a touch of irreverence. How do I recapture that? Am I expecting too much?

We wrapped up too soon. I felt like a little kid not wanting to leave a birthday party. I told you I was hanging on, with my nails clawed into you, whether you tried to shake me off or not. And for a brief moment, I was vulnerable. Heart racing, out-in-the-open-exposed. And you didn’t take a cheap shot. You were generous. Why would I expect anything else?

“Let’s not let so much time pass between phone calls. Let’s make a pact to stay connected in various ways. Go do great things and tell me what you discover.”

Of course, we didn’t say any of those things. “It was good talking with you. Take care and we’ll talk soon.”