Sequel: Four Years



Finally free of schooling and able to begin life, I look around my apartment littered with boxes and bags of things I’ve acquired over the years. Not quite sure what to do next, I started unpacking the tote of books that my parents had dropped off. A lot of them were books that I hadn’t read since high school. One book caught my eye. It was a little tattered and worn from being read so many times. Although, the reason it caught my eye was because there was a bookmark sticking out of it. I picked it up, realizing that it was my favorite book when I was a teen.

Smiling, I opened the cover of the book, the marker falling out. My eyes scanned over the messy writing scrawled across the inside of the cover.
Dear Derry,
I know you love reading and you mentioned you wanted this book.
So, here you go. Enjoy.

The date he wrote in the book was eight years ago, making me about fifteen. We had just started dating when he gave me the book.

Out of curiosity, I picked up the bookmark that had fallen out of the book. The front said 'forever' so I flipped it over. On the back, two things were written and they were both from Carter. One said ‘friends forever. Carter’ and it was written when we first met, at about age five I suppose. In neater handwriting, he had written the word ‘boy’ in front of friends. Memories of Carter and I floated back to me.

Not that I could ever forget him; he was my first friend and serious relationship. We were together for about four years. Then I got accepted to college out-of-state and he didn’t. He urged me to go and we promised we’d stay in contact. Neither of us thought long-distance relationships were a good idea, so we said we’d see where life brought us after college. Of course we ended up losing contact, but now that I was back in our hometown I wanted to know if he was still around here.

With that though in my mind, I called my mom to get his parents’ address. He had once told me that he was going to live at home while he went to college. I drove the fifteen minutes to his old house, finding it the same as it always was. Getting out of the car, I walked up to the door and knocked lightly. The door opened to reveal his mom who looked the same, just a little older.

“Hi Mrs. Pierce, it’s-”

She smiles and wraps her arms around me, finishing my sentence. “Derrik. Come in.”

Releasing me from her hug, I return her smile before following her inside. The house had a few cosmetic changes, but nothing is extremely different. We walk into the kitchen and I take a seat at the table. She brings over a glass of milk and a chocolate chip cookie, just like when Carter and I were younger. I thank her and she sits down across from me.

We make conversation and catch up for a while. I keep waiting for Carter to pop in from somewhere, but no luck. Oddly enough, he hasn’t been brought up in conversation either. There’s nothing we’re talking about at the moment, so I take this as my opportunity to bring up Carter.

“So, what’s Carter been up to the past few years?”

I wait for my answer and she shoots me a smile. It seems to be a rather sad smile though. Maybe he moved away. “Oh sweetie, I’m afraid he, um, has passed on.”

As the words leave her mouth, I find myself void of any emotion. “Oh. Um, w-whe…”

“About a couple years ago. He took his own life.”

Letting out a breath I didn’t know I was holding, I felt a rush of emotions consuming me. Not exactly knowing what to say, I looked down at the table. The want to go up to his room, even if it wasn’t his room anymore, suddenly appeared. “Could I… go up to his room?”

With her approval, I quickly go up the stairs and make my way to the room I knew so well. My hand rests on the doorknob and I sigh before slowly opening the door, not knowing what I’ll find. I take in the room, a small smile on my face. Everything is almost exactly as I remember. He changed things around and took down some posters but it’s all the same. Shutting the door, I make my way over to his bed.

I sit down and look over to the picture frames on his dresser. Most of them are of us. The realization that he’s gone hits me and all our memories come back to me. His room holds all of our firsts, well, as a couple. Our first kiss was at his desk when we were working on a school project. The first time he asked me on a date we were sitting on his floor, playing a game. When we first said ‘I love you’, we were laying on his bed watching a movie.

Who knew a bookmark could hold so many memories? That it could lead to so many emotions. I take the object out of my pocket and look at it for a while before lying down on his bed. All the events of today finally catching up with me and I find myself drifting in and out of consciousness.

Carter’s bedroom door opens and I look to see who it is. I see Carter standing there, a smile playing at his lips. Jumping up from his bed, I run over to him and hug him tightly. He laughs before placing a soft kiss to my lips. Smiling, I take his hand and walk over back to his bed. We sit in silence for a bit, just enjoying each other’s company.

“So,” he says, playing with my hair, “how was college?”

I think back on the boring last four years of my life. “It wasn’t that great. I wish I would’ve stayed here. With you.”

“I’m sure it was great Derry. As much as it killed me to have you go, I knew it was what you wanted.”

Shaking my head, I pull him close to me. “No, what I wanted was to spend the rest of my life with you.”
♠ ♠ ♠
Not sure how I feel about this. What do you think?