Standing on our porch I could just barely see Miller's Ridge. The sun had set, but there was still a faint red glow in the western sky. It was beautiful, but my thoughts were not. They were angry, hurt, confused. Dusk was my favorite time of day, ordinarily. Tonight was different. If there was a breeze I hardly felt it, and I had no desire to go anywhere or see anyone. I wasn't sure when I would ever want to see anyone again.
"Kirk, we're cutting the watermelon!"
Mom's voice called through the screen door.
"No thanks, Mom. I'm not hungry."
"Would Darren like some?"
"He left." And good riddance, I thought bitterly. I had felt uncomfortable -- actually dirty-when he told me. It was a good thing he had come by after supper; otherwise I couldn't have eaten a bite.
I closed my eyes and swallowed.
How could it be true? Darren had become my best friend during the four months his family had been in town.
There was nothing unusual about the way we met. He came to church and I introduced myself. Since I was on the welcoming committee, it was only part of my job, but Darren really appreciated my friendliness.
"It's kind of hard getting acquainted when you're new," he told me after youth group.
"Leave that to me," I had replied with a grin.
After that I just included him whenever possible and soon discovered how well we got along. We had a lot of the same interests, too, including tennis and golf.
When I found out that his family lived only a few blocks from mine, our friendship really took off. I'd pick him up for church or choir practice one week and he'd drive the next. His parents...