A World Between

by D K Daniels

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Dear Ryan, I'm not sure how it is up there, but I am sure shitty down here. I'm sorry I haven't written to you in a while, but I have been too sad to write of late. My sister Rebecca told me the other day that I should stop writing to you because it's a waste of time. You can imagine how disappointed I was with her, angered even. What does she know, she doesn't understand the things we went through together? Brothers we are, well almost, not that we share the same mother, though that would be universally weird somehow. I can't shake the thought from my brain now. Seriously, I'm chuckling right now at how wrong, and how absurdly funny it is to me.

I miss our laughs down by the pier when we'd sneak out together at night, just you and me, the best of friends. I'd bring the snacks, and you'd bring the soda. I remember when you confessed your feelings to me about how scared you were of the statue of the iron sailor on the boardwalk overlooking the sea. I guess this is my chance to say I was equally as scared, but I never told you, not when you were here. It's funny how things work out, I'm here - by the statue, and you're somewhere out there. The sea has this cool reflection on the waves coming into the shore. It's incredible; it would've been a great night to tell you I miss you, but it doesn't amount to much, considering you're not here and yet you are there.

Something weird happened today, I was making toast, and I burned it. I know it's not a massive deal, but I started crying after I burned it and I couldn't figure out for the life of me why I was crying. I was the only one home so you can imagine by the time everyone got home, I had cleaned up the mess and resorted to being normal - a zombie-like normal. I don't know what it was, but something deep down told me it was you telling me to stop fucking up burning toast. It was like that time when both of us came down to the kitchen at 2 AM in the morning, made toast with your favourite - peanut butter and Nutella all on the one slice. You'd be proud: I took your hint a couple of weeks ago and tried the topping, and it has by far become my favourite thing to eat on bread now.

Anyway, I think I should be getting home. I have school in the morning. It's the first day back after summer break. I promise I'll make us proud, and I'll write to you again soon. I wish you could write back, though. I know you can't, because you don't have any paper or a pen, and that you're a busy person. Making things impressive is your thing so I won't mess with that, I'll be back soon, I promise.

Later Bro


Dear Ryan, I am sorry I haven't written in over a week. The new school term has proven to be quite demanding. I didn't expect to be run off my feet, but this is almost unlike any year we have experienced yet. The teachers are friendly enough, but I prefer our old tutors, they were badass. Still, I have to say there is this Science teacher called Mr. Donoghue and for some unknown reason I think you would have found a new friend in him; he's funny and quick with sarcastic one-liners. I could imagine the two of you battling against each other in a duel of wits, and that would naturally lead to your detention or expulsion somehow. Though personally, as for how I'd see it, Mr. Donoghue is too laid back to give a shit.

There are a couple of people from our previous year in my class. I'm not sure what class you would have been in or what teachers you would have had, but I'm sure they would have liked you if they had only gotten the chance to meet you. I don't know why that felt so natural to say, but I thought it is something you should know. I know you don't like beating around the bush, so that's why I just got straight to it.

I saw Megan on Wednesday in the corridor; she was changing books from her bag and into her locker. I decided I'd try and talk to her for us both more than anything. I have been feeling a little lonely the past couple of days, so I decided I'd ask how she was doing. I swear dude, I was not hitting on her or anything; I know you had your eyes on her since like forever, but she seemed a little lonely there on her own. So anyway, I braced myself and then walked up to her confident like, and when she saw me, she stopped doing what she was doing. She appeared to be shocked to see me, and I have no idea why. I think she felt odd talking to me. She flustered about, giving me one-word responses for the most part. It was like I wasn't there or something if you get me from the way she was talking to me. She just… Ugh… I don't know. She didn't seem the same. It was like she was rushing so that she could run off and be with the cool kids again. I hope I was never weird or anything, but then again come to think of it, I had an odd best friend, so I guess it is inevitable to rub off on me somehow.

When I approached her, I said "hey."

To which she replied, "oh, hey Jake…" and trailed off.

I think I caught her off guard because she didn't exactly know what to say when I came around to talk to her. I felt a little out of place from the get-go, from the first reply. It felt like there was something in the air, but since I started a conversation, I couldn't exactly back out and leave it. It would have been rude, and weird, I guess.

For some reason, I asked her, "how was your summer?"

To which she said, "it was okay, I guess."

Except, for some reason with regular conversation role-playing, I forgot that It was customary for someone to ask back if you ask the question of how are you. She asked how my summer went, and I didn't exactly know how to respond. Yeah, I could have said my summer was great, but she'd know, and I guess me and you would both know that summer wasn't great. In fact, I think everyone knows what happened this summer. I'm not sure if you know what happened, but I hope wherever you are, you are, I guess… alright. I don't mean to be mushy and shit man, but…. I… SIGH. Never mind, it's another topic for another discussion.

You won't believe where I am right now. I'm at Barleycove. The sea is so calm today; it's a little windy, but you'd have loved the view. The way the sun is setting is like legit goose bumps or picture-worthy. I know you would have taken advantage of the setting sun as a backdrop for your notorious selfies. I remember two summers ago we took a small hike up here and we sat by the bridge eating an entire packet of Orio's. You'd be gurgling down your Sunkist Orange and I'd be downing a can of Big Red. Those were the days, right? I miss them, and well, I hope you remember them if you can. They were the best days of my life, the ones I spent with you. I don't think I would have known, or done half of the things I have done in the past if it weren't for your enthusiasm.

All the fun memories we have together are because of you, or the majority are in your favour, of course. When I was walking to get here, I had to cut across the beach parking lot, and when I was starting the steep climb up into the hillside, a gull came out of nowhere and frightened me, I could have had a heart attack. I could have died there and then… I'm sorry I wrote that… it's not funny at all. Sigh… It's just the seagull reminded me of when that bird took half of your hot dog from your hands one day down by the boardwalk. I remember you got so annoyed over it and I just kept smiling and laughing about it. You bitched on about how the bastard swooped in uninvited for ages.

Yeah, maybe I should go. I'm sorry I said that, kay? I hope you can forgive me; I didn't mean It. I'm so stupid for phrasing it that way.

Anyway, I should probably start for home; I feel weird now. It's a long enough walk, and I've been gone longer than I should have been. I only stepped out to go to the store for Mom. Instead, I took some writing paper and a pencil. I guess it felt somewhat natural, writing to you from places where we've hung out. It makes me feel like; I don't know… home, for some odd reason. I'm not sure what it is, but even so, it makes me feel sad-happy.

Anyway, night man,


Dear Ryan, did I mention in my last letter I am playing in the school band? I'm not sure how I did it because I didn't even apply for the thing, but Ms Watson searched me out at Lunch period and congratulated me on making the team. I'm not sure if she was more begging me to consider coming back this year. I don't know why, but I sorta caved and agreed for some reason. I have no idea why I did that before having all the facts. I guess having a distraction could help. I'm feeling genuinely better this week, compared to the other weeks. I don't know why I'm only now starting to get over things, but I don't mean it that way when I say' get over things.'

It's just; I don't know… It's hard to say it in words, and it's hard to write what I'm feeling. It's like this piece of my chest has been drilled through, far to the other side, and there is a significant tunnel burrowed and visible as you'd see in all those horror movies. I remember violence in film grossed you out, even though you were on an entirely gross stage of your own. Is it strange that I miss the weirdness? For the life of me, I'll never know why your farts were so volatile, or why you'd start discussing different code names for your shit at the dinner table. Yeah, I'll admit they were horribly funny at the time, but, of course, it's customary to say such things are disgusting. Especially when you are eating something that resembles sick or shit when you look at it.

The movie you wanted to see is out in theatres. You know the one you waited an entire year to see. I know you loved the first one and you practically dragged me along to watch it with you. Even when I wasn't remotely interested, but I have to say I secretly enjoyed it. I don't know why I was pretending not to like it; it's like if you do something you're not accustomed to, then you're not sure if you should be doing it. At the same time, if you do something you're not accustomed to, you feel better for having done it. I'm glad I went to see that movie with you. I thought I could go and see it, but then I remembered it's something you and I should do together. I'm not exactly sure how I can just pick up someone else and go with them, considering it was you who introduced me to the franchise. But regarding your… em… you know…, I'll figure something out; I know you'll want all the intel on the movie. Where the first film ended was really on a cliff-hanger, and you drove me crazy with all your theories for over a month on how you thought it would conclude. So, if I do anything for us at all, then I'll do that.

Oh, and em… I found one of your hoodies in my closet. I don't know how it got there, but I know it's yours. It's not just ONE of your hoodies; it's the red one. You know, your favourite one. I didn't know what to do with it. I couldn't bring myself to give it to your Mom or… no…, I don't think I could get rid of it. That's insulting. Instead, I sorta pulled it on and wore it today. I'm still wearing it now, while I'm sitting at the iron sailor by the sea. It feels natural to wear it; I'm sorry if you disapprove. If you don't want me to wear it, I won't. It's just I could get your YOU smell of it… That sounded weird… sorry. I'm just thinking out loud. But is it weird, if I miss your YOU smell? I don't know, but I like it and miss it at the same time because it reminds me of you. It's not gay or anything, I swear… It's just… I know it's something you wore and that you liked. I wore it proudly though… I know it's wrong, and I'm sorry about that. I shouldn't think about it like this, but it's just, I don't know, I mis… I miss you, man. There…, I said it. I'm not sure why it feels so hard to say it, but I do, I miss you.

Anyway, maybe I should get going… I have homework to do, which is a lot by far.

Anyway, later.


Dear Ryan, I went to see the movie on my own… It was everything you described. I just knew you'd be smiling so hard and proper hyper if you saw it. Man, they tracked down the villain to his lavish mansion on Torc Island. There was this awesome battle scene with Crazy Johnny. He had all this cool machinery attached to his armour, and he blasted through the front gates after landing at the docks on Torc Island. He destroyed everything in his path. There were so many explosions and action; aww… Man, you would have loved it. In the end, they captured the bad guy, and they threw him in Harper Jail and left him there to rot. Sad to say, I think there might be a sequel. But I guess that might be another story for another time.

I also decided to put your hoodie back in my closet. It was wrong to wear it, considering it's yours. I'll leave it there for you when you decide to take it back or something. It's yours, right? I know you would want it again since I found it, but I remember now why it was in my closet. You were staying here on the night, and you left all your stuff in my house while we went out to go… Yeah, maybe I shouldn't talk about that just yet. I'm sorry for even bringing it up. I'm so dumb like you want to know what happened every time I write a letter. Well, I'm assuming you know, but then again, I never get an answer from you. So, I'm not sure if you know. It's just always so quiet on this end. If you are trying to talk to me or send letters - just to let you know, I'm not getting them.

I think this letter was a disaster as soon as I put pencil to paper. I mean, look at the atrocious handwriting. I can't do anything right. I'm probably upsetting you, and that's why you don't want to talk to me. It's just… the conversation feels a little one-sided. I'd desperately like you to write me back, but I know somewhere deep down it's impossible. Though that doesn't stop me from hoping I'd get a letter from you out of the blue. I feel a little annoyed that you won't answer me, and I know it's not your fault. I just… I miss your voice. I called your phone today again. It still has your voicemail; for once, I felt like I was talking to you again. But as soon as I spoke up and called "Ryan," the beep of the automated message sounded and told me to leave my message. Your voice is so soft-sounding and harsh when you say the word YOUR. I've listened to the same message about a thousand times. Even more, you know… since. You never picked up your cell… you were always bad at that. I'd call, and you'd always take forever to answer or usually, you'd end up calling me back. I'll never understand how you'd never manage to pick up on the first ring. Especially since your phone was always glued to your left hand. But I think now since I've been paying extra attention to your voice and how you say it on the message that I've somehow memorized it.

The message goes like, "Hey it's Ryan… he's busy trying to cosy up to YOUR Mom… If you must talk with him, leave your name and digits after the tone."

The way you said your… it's so harsh sounding compared to the rest of the message. It's almost deliberately alluring. It almost shows you're crazy and funny side all at the same time, even though you are sarcastic. Every syllable fell softly with every word you spoke. That's what you had, Ryan, a voice of reason, even though you were or are still a sarcastic basket case.

Guess where I am today. I'm sitting in the playground outside the town park. This is where we met. Our first rivalry: you were blocking the slide for the kids who wanted to use it. And what did I do, I butted my way in, insisting I was using the slide regardless of what you thought. After I went down the slide, I came back up for a second go, and you deliberately sat in the slide so I couldn't do it again. It was annoying at the time, but now I find it funny. You were sitting there in your winter jacket and pom-pom hat, sulking for what I had done. I can't rightly remember why you were blocking it, but I remember you asking me for money to go down it. Maybe that's what you were up to, you were looking for money. I remember pushing you down the slide, and then I got into it after you; with every nudge and shove from my feet, we finally got down the entire slide. I think you were amazed by my audacity because after we got to the end of the slide, you sat on one of the benches and sulked for a while. I went about playing without a bother in the world.

Then the swings cleared up, and I made my way towards them. I started swinging, but stopped when you came over. I wasn't sure what to think, but you sat down beside me on the adjacent swing and pondered for a moment.

Then out of nowhere you stuck out your hand to me and said, "Hey, I'm Ryan… Sorry about the slide thing."

And one thing led to another, and I shook your hand. I don't know why I was still annoyed at you, or maybe I did not care all that much. But I am glad I did shake on it. That's where I am right now; I'm sitting on the right swing where I sat, and you had relaxed on the left swing. It's hurtful to glance over and expect you to be sitting on that piece of rubber, but no it just remains empty. It sways back and forth effortlessly with the breeze, with a creak from the chains.

I just glanced over again…. Sigh… I should finish this letter and get home. It looks like it's going to rain soon and I have no jacket. I'll write again; for some reason, I keep thinking if I peek up the bottom of the slide, that I'd uncover you are hiding inside it, and that's where you have been hiding the last couple of months, but no… I know where you are.

Anyway, Night Dude.


Ryan. I'll call you Ryan like I always did. I spoke with Taylor today; he has changed so much. His voice has gotten deeper; he has pimples, and his hair has gotten longer, and above all, he's taller than me now. He was asking how I was doing. How I was settling in, and for the most part, I told him I was enjoying it. Well, school is okay… it would be a lot better, of course, sharing my experiences with you. He was all friendly and sweet about the situation, though out of nowhere he told me he was sorry to hear about you. I didn't know what to say; I don't think I'd even have the words to comprehend what to say, even if he asked me to do so. What was I supposed to say to that?

"I'm sorry to hear about Ryan."

Sigh… I told him "I'm doing okay…"

Though, in reality, I don't think I'm doing so good. I haven't spoken to anyone else about you, and well, I don't think I plan to. I mean I'm a boy, right? I can handle this. I can't just go around and be all sad like and cry. People would see that as a weakness. Then over the next couple of school years, I'll have gained a reputation for being "the kid that cries in school." I'm not sure what got to me about the conversation, but I think it was because he said that about you. Taylor is a cool guy, but not as impressive as you.

I started my first band practice; I'm playing the piano again. I guess the teacher thinks I'm doing okay enough for me to be able to be selected for solos. I keep half expecting to turn around and see you with a tuba or something behind me deafening the entire class. I know that would be something you'd do for a kick. I think you would have liked the music we're playing. It's not too classical, and it's not too old; it's a mix of old school and new. The music teacher is trying to keep it modern enough so we can get into the music, but give it the facelift it needs.

Also, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, not that I wanted to tell you this, but considering we've always told each other stuff, I decided I didn't want to hide this from you. Megan is hanging around that guy Thomas from the east side of town. You know the blond-headed dude that is always practising: kicking footballs down on the school grounds when the local team is not practising or playing. Yeah well, him. I've heard he's getting really good. But I just thought you'd like to know Megan is kind of going out with him, I guess. I'm not sure; I haven't asked or anything, but it sure looks that way to me. So, I'm sorry dude.

Oh, and yeah, I was also in our 7th-grade building. I was called out of class from my teacher, which hardly ever happens. She asked me to run across to the other building and hand these musical instruments in. They needed them for their next class since we had borrowed them. Well, I did, and well, I passed through the front door and walked toward the reception. I passed by our old lockers; you know the one I accidentally on purpose locked you in. Yeah well, that one, and I'm still entirely sorry about that; it was a mistake. I was joking about it. I shut the door, and it locked, and I pretended I couldn't open it. The next thing I knew was I couldn't open it for real. I dialled that bloody combination in about ten times, and after I was about to have a nervous breakdown, it finally opened. You were panicking when you were locked in there, but when I opened it, you were so relaxed and collected. When I opened it, you smiled coyly with a smirk to it. Then your usual witty self quickly started; you gave me the middle finger through the tiny crack of the open door. But you were quick to jump out of the locker when I threatened to close it again. That was a funny moment, maybe not for you or me, but I think we both found it amusing afterwards.

Anyway, I better stop writing this letter and start my homework; I'll write another letter soon.


Ryan, you won't believe what I heard today, our song, I heard it. It was on the radio in the car when my Mom picked me up from school. Given the weather today was shit when I got in the car, the song was playing on the radio. I didn't exactly know what to do with the emotional baggage that came with the lyrics, the stupid guitar, and set of crashing drums in the background. The song just reminded me of you, and as I sat there looking out the window at the world fly by in the rain, I felt this sombre darkness in my heart. It felt extraordinarily sharp; I don't know how to explain it, but it really, really hurt. Even more than when we were playing hockey in the winter, and you hit my shinbone. Yeah, that bloody hurt, but this emotion cut more than all the time's something like that has hurt me. It felt like my heart sunk to the most profound trench, had been ripped out, stabbed and then bandaged up before surgically placed back inside my chest. I hate the song now; it hurt. Why did you have to introduce me to that song? I have spent the last hour on and off crying. I tell you this because I practically tell/told you everything and I can't shake the deep sadness now in my heart. I never want to hear that stupid song ever again. It brought back all the happy emotions You and I had; it made my heart and mind ease up for a few minutes. I was enjoying the song and then about mid-way through it, I felt this darkness taint the vision. I glanced out the window to make it look like I was totally not going to cry, but I have been since I got home. You won't tell anyone; will you, dude? It's a secret right… just like the secret you still keep about your wrestling figurines in a shoebox in the back of your closet.

I feel like I'm going a little crazy here. I can't figure out what is wrong with me. Even more importantly, why can't I stop crying? I swear, I'm going soft and I'm not turning gay or anything, it's just that I genuinely miss you. I'm getting scared that I'll forget you; I know it's ridiculous because what we had can never be replaced. You won't forget about me, will you? I hope not because I don't want to forget about you. I needed to get some closure or something, earlier, after I started crying after that song. All I can picture is you singing obnoxiously to it. So, I dialled your number, and when I got through to the service, it said that your number was no longer in service. I mean, I can't understand what happened. I was just there the other day. I was able to call, and I'd hear your voicemail, but now I can't hear your voice anymore, and that upsets me more than the song did. I don't want to forget about you, and I don't want your existence to suddenly vanish because that's what it feels like. Why did the phone company shut off your service? I should have recorded your voice. In all of the pictures I have taken of us I haven't got a single video with your voice on tape.

I'm so sorry man if I got a little too mushy; it just It feels weird that you're nowhere in my life anymore. I think I'll stop here; I don't think I can write anymore, even if I wanted to… I'm sorry I have to cut it short, but I'll write again soon, I think… I promise, or something.


Ryan, do you know what I thought about all day? You. So much so it drove me crazy all day in school. I couldn't wait to get home from class, to go outside and write on the stump in the backyard. I remember we shared everything together since we were kids, and I don't think I'll ever meet someone like you again. I thought of the time when we camped out in my backyard in the tent you bought last summer. I didn't know then, and I'm still not sure what it means now, but I'm grateful for that night. I'm not mad… I never was. And I'm sorry if I acted weird because of it. It wasn't you; it's just…, I wasn't expecting it. You are my best friend, and nothing will change how I feel. In fact, is it weird I'm getting goose bumps and butterflies at the same time while I write this? I know it's embarrassing for both of us, and we both made a vow of silence. We both swore to each other on the night we'd never tell a living soul about what happened night. I kept my side of the deal, just like you did.

You said, "Promise. Promise me that you'll take this to the grave." I did promise, and I still promise.

Even if you're not here to hold up your end of the deal, I'll still keep my side of the deal. I don't understand exactly what happened on that night. How we went from lightly teasing each other to wrestling, then to you kissing me. It just happened, right? No biggie. Besides, if the kiss was confusing, then the fooling around that happened after night was even more confusing. What I'm trying to say is I don't think I could have asked for a better friend even if I did try and ask, which I wouldn't. We shared an embarrassing moment, but did it with curiosity. It wasn't gay or anything…

I'm not gay, and well, you had your eyes on Megan. I don't think I'll ever understand why we did those things that night, but I want you to know I liked what we did. And I'm happy I did it with you. You made me realize how much you have helped me grow as a person and what I wanted for our relationship to be. I guess it's safe to say we both want women of course, but that doesn't change the fact we had shared a close and intimate moment. And I'm glad you chose to share a vulnerable part of yourself with me, even though I was nervous about what was happening, as I figured you were too. I'm glad it happened. So now you know, okay. It's a secret between friends, and that's all it ever will be.

Anyway, I better be going to bed, so I'll write soon.


Ryan, do you remember the school project we worked on about Chernobyl. Why did we pick that? I can't remember, it's funny. Something so fucked up can be so beautiful. Humans, I guess, are natural-born disasters waiting to happen. I don't know why we both liked the idea of a nuclear disaster, but I think it felt like an adventure on our end. What if we both ran away together and went to Chernobyl to explore, just like you said; do you remember when you asked me?

"One day, we can run away and go explore Chernobyl together."

Of course, it wasn't precisely doable, not to mention a colossal ocean between us and Ukraine, but what if we actually, I don't know, went to the fallout zone? It would have been our little retreat where we would have been the kings and everything we said as the gospel truth was the law of the land. It would be like the twenty-first-century version of Where The Wild Things Are, I know it. The two of us could have had an extraordinary time. I miss that, you know, dreaming together. We did a lot together. It's sad to think everything is going on without you. It's like nobody honestly cares if you're gone or not. Well, I do, I still care, even if they don't. We made so many plans together it's impossible to count. I remember when you said you'd love to go to Hollywood to become a movie star, but now that you are gone, I can't say you'll have a slice of Hollywood. Or when the time we said we both love to be cowboys and astronauts, I'm not sure why the idea appealed so much, but I guess we both were just natural-born pioneers.

Though you are exploring a new vast land that I haven't got a ticket for just yet, which makes me feel powerless. I can't perceive the outcome, but I know someday I'll explore it with you. As for the way the project turned out, I can't say I liked it - did you? I mean, we totally rushed it, but that was because we were too busy climbing trees and stuff. Who has time to write things down when you're off exploring? I hope you're off exploring wherever you are.

Anyway, I have to go. I'm like starving. I need to eat something. Hmm… now a new thought is lodged in my head. I hope there is food on the other side, if not, then can you let me know. I'll save you something tasty.


Dude, today has been a really crummy day. I was sitting at my desk at school, and I had this sudden realization I forgot how you looked. How you smile and how you'd show frustration when I never learned something quick enough for your liking. I miss that about you. Is this weird? I could not stop thinking about you all day man, by the time my third class started, I legitimately cried in the bathroom, so nobody else would see me. I feel like I'm losing who you used to be. I don't want to lose the concept of what you looked like.

I skipped school earlier than usual. I went home for lunch because I felt a little heavy on the inside. The school called later in the day to tell my Mom I ditched school, which is not the problem nor the point. The point is when I got home, I could not stop looking at all the pictures of you. Every single photograph you are in has changed for me; it gave me the illusion for a little while I was looking directly at you again. I just wanted to reach out and touch your face or hug you in the photos; I don't know why. It's just… you looked so full of life, so brave, happy, and a there's a quality that almost felt like a dream when I looked at the photos. I know it's just a fantasy, but it felt like I could connect with you just for a little bit. But it didn't end there because after the magic of the pictures on my cell wore off; I went searching for any and every photo I had of you in the photo albums. You know the paper ones that are printed on fancy paper? Yeah well, those. We were such little kids in them. I came across one where you were at one of my birthday parties. You were there sitting on my left; both of our faces were covered in cake, and the smiles on our faces were haunting. It's hard to explain, but for a second, I felt the happiness and the embrace of the moment come flooding back to me. I remember the day fondly; cake fights are incredible.

I know I promised you that I wouldn't wear your sweatshirt anymore. But I slipped it on while I was opening and rejoicing with the photographs. Just the feeling of being close to who you were was enough to make me feel content today. I know it's lame, but it made me feel better today. It made me feel normal for once.

I think there was some reasoning in what my sister said the other day. I know it's not right to hold on forever, but I want you to know that there has not been a day I have not regretted since you died. I know it was my fault, but I need to find a way to move on. If I don't, I don't think I'll ever leave this state of mind, which I hear can drive someone insane if they stay too long in it. It makes me feel like you are here with me, and it doesn't make me feel so alone. So, if you can just let me have this in the meantime, I'd appreciate it, even though I know you'd rather me not wear your clothes. I don't have the words to explain how I feel, but all I know is you're not here because of me, and everything is going on as if you never existed. I can't come to terms that you're gone man. I know whatever little piece of you I'm holding onto doesn't want to let go. And I don't think I want to let go because I'll fucking miss you, and forget about you and all the shit in-between. I shouldn't have gone there that day; I don't know why I didn't say anything, but I knew something was slightly off. I should have just followed my gut. If I had done, there would have been a possibility you'd still be alive. Damn… Sigh… I should go, I'll talk to you another time.


Ry, I fucked up for real. I didn't mean for it to happen, but it just happened. I wanted so badly to see you last night after I wrote my last letter to you. I just felt like I needed to be as close to you as humanly possible. Any place we have been together or spent time at has been visited. The only place I didn't go was the graveyard. I couldn't bring myself to go there; the odd notion is that your name on the headstone is the last thing I'd come to expect, but there it was plain as day after I snuck out after dark to visit your grave. You don't belong in the ground; it's cold down there. You should be at my house playing Fifa or something, not buried in a BOX.

Last night was the worst night for me; I can't comprehend how horrible of a night it was for me. I feel so alone right now and angry at myself. I feel like I've hurt you and let you down today. To top it off, I killed my best friend. I am so sorry; I tore the sweatshirt climbing back over the fence of the graveyard. It took a clean snag out of the pocket and practically tore the pocket off. I'm soo…soo… sorry, I destroyed your favourite hoodie, I feel like complete shit. I can hardly see the page below me from all the water in my eyes. If I wipe my nose one more time the cuff of my jacket will be nothing but a snot rag.

I should have just left well enough alone. It's not mine in the first place, it's yours, and I should have given it back to your Mom. I decided last night I have to say goodbye somehow, and I couldn't do it at home. I thought that visiting your grave would have been the way to go, but then this happened, and I feel even worse than I did before. I can still fix it though; I'll fix it… I'll make sure I do the thing right. If I can do just one thing right then, it is all I hope for. Because my life has been a series of monumental fuckups and I have brought nothing but bad luck to the people around me.

I shouldn't have gone to the beach that day. I kept saying, let's go to the usual beach, but you insisted on going to the private beach. Why were you so persistent? Why couldn't you just have listened to me? You were so fucking insistent on going to the secluded spot to swim? We should have checked first to see if there was a lifebuoy, but we didn't. We undressed like always right down to our boxers and put our wetsuits on. Then you shot off for the ocean ahead of me, and it was all fun and games. We splashed each other teasingly, we swung out of one another, dunked each other, horsed about for the most part, until you wrapped your arm around my neck and toppled me backwards into the water. I had enough; you scared me, and that's what made me get out of the water.

I'm sorry I left you in the water on your own. I was a little stubborn even after you begged and pleaded with me about twenty times to get back in the sea. I never got to forgive you, because you became quiet as I strolled a bit up the beach. I was annoyed at you for doing it. Especially after I told you like five times not to do it to me and you well knew I didn't like it. I can't shake the thought of what would have happened if I had stayed in the water with you. Would I have been pulled out to the ocean in the rip-tide too? Why did you swim toward the shore? You're supposed to swim to the side. I thought you would have known those things.

Sigh… I should have asked to go home or something; that way, you would have gotten out of the water with me. All I can do is contemplate all the what-ifs, and everything ends with you living in the scenario. I'm sorry I left you all alone, it's just I needed some time to cool off. So, I sat on the rocks further down the beach and thought for a couple of minutes. I never left you; I want you to know… okay. When I got back, you were… were floating. I wasn't sure if you were joking at first, but after I called you like two or three times, I figured something was wrong. So, I ran for the lifebuoy, and do you know what, there was no fucking preserver there. I mean, who steals things that could save someone's life? I was afraid of going in at first, but I couldn't let you drift out to the sea. So, I entered the water, somehow hoping you were joking, and when I came out to get you, you'd scare me to death. But when I swam out to you, you didn't move. No…, you stayed perfectly still.

With a bit of struggle, I pulled you back to the shore, avoiding the rip-current which had formed in the water. You still looked like you were alive, you just chose not to breathe. I wondered how long you had been in the water and with that, I undid your wetsuit. I tried my best to get you to throw up the water, but you wouldn't. I remember how peaceful you looked, lying on the sand, Ryan. You seemed like you were resting, and I couldn't figure out what to do, so I ran off to get help. When I returned with a neighbour, an ambulance was already there.

Something morally wrong clicked as I watched those paramedics try to revive you, and all I could do was stand and watch. I'm sorry I was so useless, Ryan. I should have done more. I know I could have done more. But that does not change the fact I let you down and I let you die. I understand it's my fault for leaving you and that's my biggest regret of all. I know… trust me. I should have gotten out and sat on the bank. I should have stayed close to you, but I guess that will always make me sick to the gut for walking off. You would have never walked away if it were me left in the water.

Though since summer, I have finally concluded I'm resentful of my mistake. I am genuinely grateful to have known a person like you. I'm not going to say goodbye because that would sadden me something awful. So, I'll say, I'll see you one day far from now; then, just maybe, we'll find each other when I make it to heaven, and you'll somehow find an even more fucked up way to greet me, by making me sit through an entire National Geographic episode. Just then will the good times recommence and you will perhaps have forgiven me for my mistake, but until then, don't wait for me; if you're still listening… reading, walk on.


The End

Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed this tale. Drop me an email to let me know via my reader contact email: danny2017writing@outlook.com. You can help me by rating this story via Goodreads. Link below. The story is part of a collection called We Are Here. Doing this enables my stories to reach a larger audience and improves my rankings. Don't forget also to visit my website and sign up for my mailing list. You can also view some of my older works by clicking on my pen name via the authors tab.

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This story was orginally part of the 2017/2018 story challenge "Inspired by a Picture: Locker". The other stories may be found at the challenge home page. Please read them, too. The voting period of 3 to 24 February 2018 is when the voting is open. This story may be rated, below, against a set of criteria, and may be rated against other stories on the challenge home page.

The challenge was to write a story inspired by this picture:

2017 Inspired by a Picture Challenge - Locker

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