Now that I have more time to write I want to elaborate on my response. I absolutely loved your story more than words can say. You described an aching that I know so well and, for me, you absolutely nailed the deep, visceral heartbreak of that feeling that I hadn’t quite acknowledged or consciously articulated. The pining for a past friend, the longing, the wondering, the loss.
To me, that is writing at its best. When you can create such a vivid picture, that the reader experiences a shock of recognition in a situation that they could never put their finger on before but it was always there, lurking and percolating in the background. Beautiful piece, Allan — kudos! xoxox