A Private Person

 A Private Person

I’d dreaded meeting him since I heard his news from an acquaintance.

Now he was standing behind me at the checkout.

Hugging me, he asked the usual questions he always rolls out at school

reunions. I am fine, I answered; I am also fine, he told me; his

company was booming – picking up more clients than he could manage.

Fiddling with his shirt button and looking me in the eye, presumably

not realising I’d heard about his terminal illness,

“I am not coming this year to the class get-together,” he said, “I’m

having my house redecorated.” He cleared his throat, “so much to be

done, I’ve got to be there.”

I nodded, and as we parted, I clasped his hand with a feeling of

relief, and held it longer than I should have.

Published in 52|250 A Year of Flash (November 1st, 2010)