I stared at him from across the room hoping if I kept my distance, this goodbye might not hurt as much as I knew it would. It wasn’t really goodbye, I knew that, only see you later, but I had no idea when later might be. Would it be over Christmas break? Would it be one year or two or would it be longer? No one is ever prepared to say goodbye to their best friend, especially the one who has been there through it all.
Those intense eyes found mine and I had to look away quickly. Look at the walls, look at my shoes, look at anything but those eyes, because then it would be real.
“Mon petit leon, why don’t you come sit down.”
“Non. I’m good here..” I whispered.
“Mon petit leon.” he sighed, “Don’t make me come get you.”
I couldn’t help but roll my eyes even though I knew he would. I slowly made my way over to him and glanced up to see him smile and open his arms. Like so many other times before over the past decade I curled into his lap and let him wrap his arms around me.
“Do you know why I call you mon petit Leon?” He inquired while rubbing one hand up and down my back gently.
“Why?” I questioned.
“Because the lion holds so much symbolism. It symbolizes courage, bravery, strength, pride, royalty.. things you possess. You have done extensive research on your family tree. You come from a line filled with Kings and Queens, chiefs, nobles, knights, mayors, lawyers, so very many prominent people. There are buildings, castles, chapels, dedicated to people in your family. Your coat of arms even has the lion in it. Their blood flows through your veins and it is time that you take your place in history by their side. Let the universe hear you roar and do not be afraid of it.”
“What if I can’t live up to the greatness of my line? I know history has it’s eyes on me, it has it’s eyes on everyone, but what if I let it down? What if I let the universe down?”
“Oh, mon chou, you won’t. The universe gave you a path to walk, because it knew that you could, that you will. You are going to be just fine.” He assured as he placed a kiss on my forehead.
I couldn’t help but smile and lean into his chest. Perhaps he was right. Perhaps he wasn’t. Only time will be able to give me the answers. I closed my eyes and just let myself feel all the emotions that I tried to bury. We sat there in silence for a few moments before he squeezed me tightly and sighed.
“As much as I’d love for you to stay, you’re already running behind. It’s time for you to go. Spend time with your family, get those last minute things done. You’ll be back in no time.” He reassured.
“This isn’t goodbye, but if for some reason something should happen.. if for some crazy reason I’m gone for a long time..” I trailed off..
“Non,” he stopped me,”You’ll be back and I cannot wait to hear and see all the crazy adventures that you go on. But mon petit Leon, allow yourself to be there, fully there. You are always ready for the next adventure, even when one has just started, so allow yourself to really feel this adventure, yeah? Take it in. Don’t be so ready to leave after a few days. Allow yourself to live and mon cheri allow yourself to love. You never know when it might find you.”
“I hope it doesn’t find me,” I muttered, “But I hope it finds you, mon ami. I hope you find everything you’re looking for. Don’t settle though, yeah? You deserve the world and all the good things it has to offer. Remember that, yeah? And that you have someone cheering you on all the way across the Atlantic.”
We exchanged smiles and I finally untangled myself from his safe embrace and headed to the door. But I wasn’t ready to go yet.
I turned back around to say, “I love you. Thanks for being my best friend.”
He walked towards me and kissed my forehead. “Je t’aime mon petit. And thank you for being mine. Now go. I’ll let you know if I come to France in the Autumn. Oh, and don’t do anything stupid to make me come over there and kick your ass.” He teased.
I couldn’t help but laugh. “Hey, if that’s what it takes to get you over there.” I teased while shrugging my arms.
Go. Show the universe your roar.” He smiled.
I nodded and walked away and out the door of the place that meant so much to me. This wasn’t goodbye, no, just until we meet again. I would see him again. After all, best friends, they don’t disappear.