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Hospitality, availability

Darkside's parents invited me to stay for the meal (I'd showed up precisely at dinnertime, just before it had started). I politely declined, and made good my escape swiftly. I was chided, when the topic of why I hadn't stayed came up at the coffee house later.

I had my reasons.

First, I had other places to be. I'd ditched out the writing group early, and I meant to show up at the Willow House afterwards, just like a good little fayoumis.

Second, not only had I already eaten, but their dinner was takeout. Darkside would have wound up getting the leftovers-from-the-fridge end of the stick. His mother was prepared to make that sacrifice for him, but it would have been unseemly of me to stay, especially as I'd arrived relatively unannounced. (I'd announced to his mother that I was planning to come by to drop off gifts, but had not made plans with her about timing.)

Third, I'm still not sure if Darkside works tomorrow, and I didn't want to risk outstaying my welcome and his wakefulness on a work night. (I know that when we take our leave of each other, what should be a two-minute procedure can stretch out for an hour, just because we still have so much to say to each other, or even when we don't have anything to say, but we still want to be spending time together and not letting go.) Again, since I didn't schedule the visit, it was crucial for me to not stay very long.

I wanted to prove the point to Darkside that not only is it not the end of the world if I see him in person, and see his family, but that it is possible for us to just spend a short bit of time together as well as spending large sections of time with him. It's nice to see him for as long as possible, and I would be more than happy to wrap myself around him and read while he games. I want to hammer the point home that it's still worth seeing him if I drive an hour round trip out of my way and see him for fifteen minutes. I also want to prove the point that once I do come in, I'm not stuck there until he does pry me loose with a crowbar.

Most deviously, I wanted to play "hard-to-get" on some level. He's the one whose schedule I bend to accomodate. It suddenly felt crucial to me that when I'd scheduled a 15-20 minute stop-in, and his mother wanted me to stay for longer, and he was agreeable, that I stick firmly to my original schedule. Ideally, my inability to stay at this point should make my ability to stay for longer when invited at other times far more of a delightful thing.
Gone away, gone ahead,
Echoes roll unanswered.
Empty, open, dusty, dead.
Why have all the Weyrfolk fled?

Where have dragons gone together
Leaving weyrs to wind and weather,
Setting herdbeasts free of tether;
Gone, our safeguards, gone, but whither?

Have they flown to some new weyr
Where cruel Threads some others fear?
Are they worlds away from here?
Why, oh why the empty weyr?

-- "The Question Song", Anne McCaffrey
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