A Deep Breath

“Remember to have a little fun, alright?” He clapped his son on the shoulder and pulled him into a hug. Around them, others said goodbye to their fledglings. Some students sighed and put up with the parental displays, others cried and clung. Cole broke from the hug and gave a stiff jawed nod, his eyes a little too wide.

He knew his son, cautious and ever serious for his age. College was a big transition, and Cole had ambitiously chosen a university far across the country from their hometown. It was brave, even if his son seemed to be regretting the decision at the moment. “I’m proud of you Cole. We’re only a phone call away, you know that.”

A nod again, as if Cole didn’t trust himself to speak at first,  but a twitch of a smile too. “Yah.”

“See you at Thanksgiving.” He said with another quick hug to ease the pang beneath his breastbone. Cole was their first to do this. “I love you.”

“Love you too.” Cole managed with stoic panic.

Taxis lined the curb waiting. Cole carried his father’s suitcase and slid it into the taxi’s trunk. The back windows tinted glass cut off Cole’s view, he waved anyway. The taxi pulled away from the university steps and towards the gates.

Cole stared after it, until he realized he was alone amidst the other students still with their parents. After a deep breath he squared his shoulders and turned back into the dorms where his roommate was probably still blaring music.

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