I’ve finished getting ready for church and preparing my primary lesson. I hear stirring in the girls’ bedroom. I’ve been sitting on the couch, fidgeting, pretending to read, waiting to leave for church. Law school. I finally enter the bedroom and get a pair of shoes for church from the closet. I tell her she can’t leave; we’re about to bind and gag her. She only laughs. There’s appropriation of leftover food and bathroom supplies. I mean, I already have 500 cotton swabs, but I certainly could use another 100. For little projects. I joke like that, because I don’t want to cry. Defense mechanism on overdrive. She says it’s been really fun and she’s had a good summer. And I say, you really think so? and I have the biggest smirk on my face, but I know and feel deep down my summer was pretty fabulous, too. She acknowledges I have to leave for church soon, and I know I can’t talk because once I start talking I’ll have to stop because crying will rudely interrupt me. She says she’ll see me around. Tears fill my eyes, but all I can do is outstretch my arms, and she agrees to give me a hug. Because that kind of a thing really does require her permission. We hug and I leave the bedroom and I gather my things. I grab a tissue from my bag and take a deep breath. I know she and Becky need a few moments together; they’re high school friends, you know. On my way out the door I tell her to behave herself, and she says she’ll try. I don’t tell her I’ll miss her, even though I will. I don’t tell her she’ll have a great experience in law school. I don’t thank her for being my friend or all those fun IM conversations while being in the living room at the same time or being such a good listener or going to the beach with me or sitting through horrible movies with me or making scotcheroos. But I do. And she knows I do. I will always thank her.