I declined and went over to look at the library. It was mainly books on Buddhism, but carried a large number of books on other religious belief systems. I was looking over the titles whenI felt her presence. I turned and she was about five feet away, her eyes wet with tears and her mouth quivering into a weak smile. Neither of us spoke. We just looked at each other for a long time. A lump came into my throat snd my eyes welled with tears. God, she looks so good.
She was dressed in the nondescript plain dress from the sweat back in Mission. I chocked out, “Hi, you look great.”
“So do you,” and she took a step and literally jumped into my arms. I lost my balance and we fortunately ended up in one of the soft chairs. She had both arms around my neck and started to giggle and kiss me. I couldn’t help it and just started laughing. We hung on to each other, laughing, kissing and crying all at the same time.
“God, Hanna, I missed you so much. I was so worried.”
“I’m so sorry. It was stupid of me to do what I did.”
“I’m so happy you’re okay. I was so worried and — ”
She let go and slid into the chair beside me, looked up, pulled me down to kiss her, a long, slow, sweet kiss. Her lips were cool and she tasted like incense.
A few minutes later I got another text. At a retreat center outside Ashland, Oregon. Would Ashland be on your way to warmer climes?
Knowing she was at her phone, I called her. I wanted to talk, not text. She answered.
“Russell, Hi —”
“Hanna, what’s going on — ?”
“I’m sorry, really sorry for . . . sorry for just taking off like I did. That was wrong. You deserved better. I couldn’t . . . just had to — ”
I heard her voice start to crack. Neither of us talked. I sat there, not knowing what I wanted to say. I desperately wanted to go to her, to see her. Yet, I was angry and wanted to scream at her for running away like she did.
“Hanna, why couldn’t you trust me enough to tell me whatever you don’t think you can talk about?’
“How do you — ?”
“John had mentioned something to me. Then I talked with your mother about a month ago. They both told me you had a hard time a while back. I knew something was wrong. Nobody would tell me. What could be so bad? Why couldn’t you just tell me whatever it is?”
I heard her voice now begin quiver, “Because, you’d hate me. You’d leave and I couldn’t, I — ”