It was so strange, that final night before his departure. Doc’s shaved head should have been a little thing, but I still felt like I was sleeping with a stranger. A cute stranger, sir. But still a stranger.
I dont know why I had so many misgivings about this venture of his. On the surface, it should have been great, a wonderful opportunity. But there were so many things that felt… wrong, and throughout the day of getting organized and getting him to the airport so many red flags were raised that I thought we were in a production of the Red Detachment of Women.
“You’re not flying with the rest of them?”
Doc shrugged. “They overbooked. So I’m on a separate flight. No big deal. We’ll all get to Disney one way or another.”
“Doc, are you sure you want to go ahead with this?”
“Not much choice now. If we walk out of here, I owe Air Canada about two grand.”
“Part of the contract, Ray. It’s a per diem that I have to pay back to them.”
“They cant even do that much for you??” I was almost furious. He’d never told me that. “After the training, you’re gonna make… what?”
He gave me a small smile. “Minimum wage… but that’s just for now.”
“Minimum wage???” I was now near apoplectic. “Are you serious? Why didnt you tell me?”
He grinned. “Because if I had, you’d never let me do this. Now relax, okay? We dont need to worry about money, okay? We’re fine.”
“Then why in God’s name are you doing this?”
The grin expanded. “It’ll be fun. I get to hang out with Goofy and the Princesses.”
“Yes, I know: it’s silly and stupid. I’m older than anyone else in the group, and believe me I feel it. So… maybe this is just a… mid-life crisis.”
“You’re too young for that.”
“You’re so sweet. Maybe that’s why I love you. Okay, they’re calling my flight. Gotta run. I’ll call you from the hotel tonight, okay?”
He kissed me. “Silly. Of course.”
He ran to the ticket counter, then, waving at me, disappeared up the tunnel.
It was the last time I was to see him for a long, long time….