“I was not supposed to be here today,” I sobbed. “My best friend...” I choked.
After a brief pause, I continued, “She hadn’t been well for many days, and I had this trip which she wanted me to postpone by just 2 days. I was stubborn enough not to budge and instead promised to meet her as soon as I came back.”
My eyes began to brim again as I was trying to form the words. Saying it out loud was making it feel more real than it already was.
“I got a call just a few moments ago, she is no more.”
“I’m sorry,” the woman whispered.
I didn’t realize how long it had been. I was mentally dazed when she shuffled in her chair to get up, when I looked up and saw the sun had already set. “I’m sorry,” I said, looking up at her, “I’ve dampened your afternoon, haven’t I?”
“No dear,” she gave a bittersweet smiled, “you have stayed with your friend when she needed you the most and that is what you need to remember, death knocks at the most odd of times, and it isn’t in your hands.”
I feverishly smiled back at her.
“If you are free for dinner, I’d like to tell you a story.”
I nodded a yes to her and we decided to meet at the hotel restaurant for dinner.
I had no other plans, there were no buses back that evening either. The earliest bus was 5AM the following day, and suddenly my solo trip felt lonely.