Flash: Say I love you

Photo 197380210 | Pollen © Wolverine6 | Dreamstime.com (paid for – please go to Dreamstime and pay the artist to reuse)

“Hey man, how ya doing?”

Paulie’s head snapped up from where he was putting away his mower. “Doug? What are you doing here?”

“Just stopping by to say ‘Hey’ and tell you I love ya man.” Doug hopped the short knee-high brick wall used to keep back the street debris, landing on the lawn. “We never say that enough, you know?”

“Yeah,” a confused look crinkled Paulie’s sun-wrinkled forty-something face, “sure.”

“Yeah, you never know when it is going to be the last time, so I thought I should say it. Been a while.” His high school best friend resettled the flannel shirt over his Mariners shirt as he walked across the freshly mowed grass. “Not even a call.”

Paul nodded. “Like a year, funny how it slips by.” He ran memories back, confirming a year. They had exchanged jokes about Doug digging things out on the West Coast mountains while he had to mow the lawn for the second time at the Carolina shore.

“Yeah, the girl graduates this year and her brother pulled honors freshman year.” The bear of a man reached his arms out, “Come on give me a hug. I’ve missed you bro.”

Paulie did as requested, leaning forward and preparing to be squeezed half-to-death, and stuttered-stepped through his friend.

“Ha! Gotcha good, didn’t I? Love you man.” Doug’s edges faded as he did finger guns when Paulie spun around. The image of the flannel and denim swirled like pollen on a car getting up to speed,. “Keep it real.” And the next moment he was gone.

“What, NO!” Paulie yanked out his phone and spun through his contact until he found Doug’s number and hit the call icon. “Come on, come on. Answer!”

(words 288, first published 6/16/2024)

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