Big brown eyes filled with the deep hearted sorrow that comes from saying good bye to a lover, a sweet parting of two, hearts joined but torn apart by the temporary physical distance imminent for weeks and finally a reality.  My own heart reached out to my coworker as I checked in on her.  Maria had to drive her boyfriend, Szillard, to the airport this morning for his return flight to Hungary.  Her dejection was so heavy as I looked at her, all I could do was smile weakly and tell her I was thinking of her, walk away hiding the tears that I could not keep from welling in my eyes.

What’s up with that?

I feel deeply for my new friend.  Maria has offered me a kindness that I don’t often feel, an acceptance that I already treasure.  Perhaps it is her Hungarian culture that allows her to be that way, certainly some of that I felt during my two weeks in Budapest this past May.  Many of the people there seem to possess a certain softness in their heart that communicates genuine concern for how I feel.  To me it felt odd, enough that I find myself trying to figure out why that feels odd to me.

Maria came to my office the morning of June 3rd, a little handled paper shopping bag in her hand.  As she gave it to me, Maria hugged my shoulders and gave me a soft little kiss on each cheek.  There was a tin of Godiva chocolates in the bag, a birthday gift for me because she had found out my birthday was June 1st.  I felt like a silly old man as I beamed over not only the thoughtfulness, but the little hug and kisses, touch I have not experienced for a while.  Now I know how special a little touch is to the elderly, not that I am in that category, but I see how much even a small gift like Maria gave to me can be.  It was simple but special, a small gesture that was given in such a sincere way, unexpected so much that it added to the appreciation I feel.  Her kindness found a tender place in my heart.

Szillard came to visit three weeks ago.  He has visited several times this year, spending as much time with Maria as possible.  Each day I wait for them to come to the office together, walk into Maria’s office to see Szillard sitting in a chair opposite Maria at her desk, their laptop computers facing each other as they work.  The bond they have is obvious, so fun to watch.  Szillard is a very personable man and I came to know him quite well during the last three weeks.  Several times a day I would get a knock on my office door, Szillard there to share something with me.  He spent a morning with me helping get some things done around my office that I couldn’t do myself, taking a trip around the area.  I was able to show him a fantastic spot to take Maria where there are magnificent gardens and flowers, an old estate now open to the public.  I think he thanked me every day after that for making the suggestion.  They went there several times.

So I knew the temporary heartbreak of this day was coming.  Yet I still feel it with tears for both Maria and Szillard.

Dang, it brings back memories of the days when I had to part with Miriam and drove away with a shoulder damp with tears, my own eyes blurred with tears.  I remember the same thing happening with the girl that was my first love.  Maybe that is why I feel for my friends today.  There is a happiness mingled with the sorrow.  I know the love that goes with that departing sorrow.  I miss that love.

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