As he places what remains of his life into the boot of my car I start the ignition and wait for him to enter. There is a sombre atmosphere inside, the radio plays faintly in the background.
Our conversation is stalled as we roll away from the pavement. Outside horns beep erratically it is peak hour on punt road. Every car on the road makes up a piece of a moving puzzle. Waiting anxiously I try to savour this moment but all I can think about are the bands we will not see, the beer we will not drink, the films we will not watch. I want to break free from this puzzle but for the moment this is where I fit.
The lights of the departing planes sparkle in the sky as we proceed down the freeway. The closer we get the more anxious I become. I feel helpless as he hands over his passport and puts his luggage on the conveyer belt.
Holding me in his arms he does not need to talk I can feel it all in the tightness of his grip. Releasing his arms from around my shoulders he slides his hands to the sides of my face, kisses my forehead “until next time” he says as he adjusts the strap of his bag over his shoulder.
Looking at my phone I am confused by the 12 digit number that pops up on my screen. The rawness in his voice draws a smile immediately. The cold night air makes it difficult for him to talk without coughing. The sound of his voice masks the distance between us.