J. Martin Harris, JM to his friends, had just graduated from Harvard School of Dental Medicine. Relieved was how he felt. He could now pursue his desired profession.
“Are you going to be home tomorrow,” he asked Ben.
“Yes. Are you flying in? If you are, I’ll pick you up from the airport.”
“I haven’t booked a flight, but as soon as I do I’ll text you with the flight number and the arrival time.”
“Okay. I can’t wait to see you,” Ben happily replied.
A visit to Toronto, Canada, to see his friend Ben was a self-imposed promise he felt compelled to keep. The short break was not only a reward for having achieved the aims he had set himself; he hoped it would invigorate his mind after many years of dedicated study.
“How was your flight?” Ben asked, as he shook JM’s hand vigorously.
“It was okay. It’s so good to see you.”
“It’s been a long time,” Ben replied, with a broad smile. He then draped his right arm across JM’s shoulders.
“Did you get into the law firm you were hoping for?”
“Yes, but it’s going to take time to learn who’s who?”
“Don’t worry; it’ll fall into place as time goes by.”
After collecting JM’s bag from the carousel they walked from the terminal; both in a jovial mood.
Ben considered JM as his best friend; unfortunately, they resided in different countries. For a period, he had lived with his parents in the apartment adjoining JM’s, before moving to Canada.
“Have you heard from your father,” JM asked.
“Occasionally.” Ben, not wanting to discuss his father, thought, he’s not worth talking about.
His father was a middle-ranking economist with one of Boston’s largest banks. With advancements being scarce, his father knew he would need to accept any assignment that came his way, but that opportunity came quicker than expected.
“The bank has a position in Toronto that requires some new thinking, and I was wondering if you’d like to take it on? It will certainly help your career. You will head the division. What do think? Are you up to it?” his manager enquired.
“Will I return to Boston?”
“Sure. If you want to transfer back just let me know.”
“Okay. I need to talk to my wife, but I don’t see any problems.”
Ben was in his second year at the University of Toronto when his parents’ divorced. His father chose to return to Boston. His mother decided to stay. Her present circumstances, and his unfinished education, dictated they remain in Toronto.
With a law degree, and his mother in a new relationship, Ben couldn’t foresee any change of country, or to their lives.
“How about I ask Ariella to come and meet you?”
Ben took his cell phone from his pocket and made the call. “Hi!” There was a lull in his conversation as he listened to Ariella. “Yes, the plane was on time. He’s here, and we’ve had a couple of beers. I was wondering if you’d like to come to the bar and meet him, before taking him to my apartment.”
Ben again listened.
“Yes, sure. If she wants to come, that’s fine. The more the merrier. See you when you get here.”
He smiled at JM. “Ariella’s bringing a friend.”
Ariella and Barbara introduced themselves and then ordered Coke.
Barbara spoke of having one final year at university before she could obtain her degree in Bachelor of Psychology. The word ‘university’ began a journey of reminiscing of final exams and of graduations.
The colour of Barbara’s eyes mesmerised JM. They’re like the blue-green waters of the grottoes in Italy I’ve seen in photos. I could get lost in them. She’s beautiful. He was falling in love.
It wasn’t love at first sight for Barbara, though. She thought of him as handsome, with looks that may have stemmed from Europe.
I like him. “Do you have a hobby?”
“Reading, if you call that a hobby.”
“I love reading books about art. What do you like to read?”
“I don’t mind art, but I read as much as I can on anything to do with dentistry … although it’s rather boring. I’m reading a novel about a philharmonic conductor that’s set in Austria. It’s interesting. I love listening to classical music.”
With approximately three hours having passed, Ariella said, “I have to be home before my parents return. Let’s get together tomorrow.”
To leave, Barbara thought it also appropriate.
The days had turned into almost a week, but JM was feeling remorseful about having to leave. He had to fly home the following day. The thought of not being with Barbara gave him cause to reconsider staying longer, but establishing his dental practice was his priority. “Can I ring you?”
“I hope so.”
“Can I ring when I arrive home?”
“Promise me you’ll ring as soon as you get off the plane.”
“I will.” He was still in two minds about returning to Boston.
“When I get my degree, I’ll visit you.”
“I can’t wait for you to graduate.”