By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

"Absence makes the heart grow fonder."
Yes ... it certainly does.
Name. Date. Resident receiving visit.
The blanks are filled in quickly as I hurriedly sign myself into the Rehab center where beloved friend "Clare" temporarily resides and is receiving necessary therapy.
She's seated in a familiar rocking chair,
  wearing a familiar outfit composed of lavender and gray,
and sipping on a Sprite which is her steady softdrink of choice.
Encompassed by the small comforts of home, photos and flowers adorn the room and speak a message of a well-cared for and loved mother, grandmother, and friend.
"Hey there Beautiful," I announce,
 while "tiggerishly" bouncing in and wrapping my friend up in a tight and reciprocal hug.
She holds on to me tightly, gives me a mild reprimand for my week-long absence, and kisses me on the forehead.
I sit on her bed, we hold hands, and she listens to an overview of my week, notably relieved that a justifiable absence for my lack of presence exists.
She had either forgotten, or didn't hear, that I was going away.
It was hard on her ... the wondering.
I feel bad.
We slip into our natural roles with ease:
I refresh her water, retrieve clean straws from the kitchen, discard and replace a fizzless can of Sprite, and tend to all the little "extras" of cleaning, tidying, and fixing up which I know she finds gratifying.
This is how it always was,
 and this is how it will always be,
 between Clare and me.
A relationship of understanding and connectedness existing so strong between the two of us that words aren't needed.
Before she asks, I've taken care of it.
Before she suggests, I've applied my feet.
Before she wants, I've delivered.
And that's the way it was and is between Clare and me.
Easy. Satisfying. Gratifying. Sincere. Mutual.
A love that acclimates and adjusts itself to the presence of another in an in-sync, automatic, unexplained way.
Beautiful love ...
Our time together concludes with a devotional; then I situate myself beside her on the floor with one hand holding hers and one hand on the "hurting" fractured spot, and I pray to God for progressive healing to take place in my friend.
Soon she will be home and who knows for how long and whom it will be with.
Hmmm ...
I hug her tight but I know I won't be gone long.
Because it's been too long since she's had her favorite meal of dark thighs, mashed potatoes, and macaroni salad from the Pizza Ranch.
And I think today's the day,
she's got a craving.
I can just "feel" it.
Beautiful love ...
Between us.