Can You Get Here In An Hour?

By Thomas J. Kelly
Allison was one of my best friends in high school. Dumb luck and silly coincidences kept us in touch through college and for a little bit after college. But slowly, we were losing the uphill battle against time.

We reached a point where I would call and her hectic life would keep her from calling back. I'm sure, over the years, I missed a few phone calls too.

Over the last five years, it reached a point where Allison was only calling me every year or two. It was usually the week after she had broken up with a boyfriend.

Then Allison met a wealthy man named Evan who would take her on vacations and to nice restaurants. My friend Bryan got invited to hang out from time to time. Bryan said Evan always picked up the tab.

She had a boyfriend who would pay for his girlfriend's male friends' drinks? Where were the hell were my phone calls?

The only time Allison called me during that two year period was the week she and Evan broke up. No free drinks for your Uncle Tom.

Allison and I talked. I asked her to hang out. She was busy for the next month. She called a few days later just to talk but was too busy to actually get together in person. I happened to be in a bad mood and said "Hey, you only need me as a friend whenever you're depressed. Do me a favor. Don't call me again until you're happy."

16 months later.

It was a sunny Saturday afternoon in November. My phone rings. I look on the caller ID. It's Allison.

At this point I know the call is about one of three things: She broke up with her boyfriend, someone is dead or she got engaged.

"Please let someone be dead. Please let someone be dead." I repeated over and over again. I repeated the phrase so many times, the call went to voice mail.

I listened to her message and my worst fears were confirmed. She was engaged to be married.

The engagement party was in New York City later that night. A mutual friend suggested that afternoon to invite me. I happened to have a show nearby that night and was glad to get the last minute invitation.

Things were great up until the minute I got to the party. As I walked through the door, I realized I knew nothing about her life over the last year and a half. Who was her fiance? Did she get back together with the rich guy? If not, this was a fast engagement. What happens if I say the rich guy's name and it's not the rich guy?

Little did I realize that as I stepped through that doorway, I was walking into a minefield full of opportunities to put my foot in my mouth.

[Mail to a friend]

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