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The train station between Merriman Drive and Quarry Road stopped running last summer. It was abrupt: no warning, just a sign saying, “Out of Order. Do Not Enter”. Jacob Kerry’s house used to be within walking distance, but now his parents have moved. Six summers ago, Jacob got on the train and never returned.
    Months after, my father would occasionally yell upstairs in the foyer and gesture me to the living room as I descended the stairs. It was always the police.
    Jacob was 15 and I was 16. The houses we lived in were only a mile apart and we had been best friends since we met at the train station 6 years prior. We rode the train together, sat next to each other, even slept over each other’s houses. Except for the weekends, when we went ‘camping’ in my backyard under the willow tree that swayed in the wind and protected us from the weather and any monsters lurking.
    Jacob liked having the train station so close to his house. It was something not many people could say about their house and he liked to talk about it at school. The train station was built in 1823 towards the middle of the Industrial revolution, and it went from Coffeyville, Kansas directly to Springfield, Missouri. Jacob’s parents always used it to get closer to St. Louis. They never liked to be home with the kids. Jacob told me stories when we were kids about how hard his dad would hit him when he broke a lamp playing house football, or when he took his baby sister’s toys. We never actually knew where the train went until Jacob’s older brother David rode it when we were 13, and he came back telling us about how far he went. And how different it seemed from Coffeyville, Kansas.
    That was 6 years ago. My family no longer lives in Kansas, and Jacob’s location is unknown. This is what I tell my boyfriend when I wake at night and imagine Jacob talking to me again:
    It is mid-august, six summers ago, and Jacob is yelling to me to pass the street hockey puck in my driveway. It’s about 5 hours before his departure. Jacob is fifteen years old and has been playing hockey since he was seven. It isn’t normal for kids we know to play hockey in Kansas, but there he is. His parents are away for the week visiting St. Louis, and Derek, his younger brother, went with them. Jacob wanted to stay home. Jacob and I are at the age that staying home alone is something that our parents are okay with.
    It is summer in Kansas, and the sun is setting in the distance.
    Jacob and I are rolling around the driveway passing the puck and the back of his shirt is covered in sweat from the humid air. It is the last game of roller hockey I’ll ever play with him, but I don’t know that. Only he does. He is smiling. The radio is playing the roller hockey playlist.
    It’s strange. Even now, when I go back to that driveway I see his smiling face yelling.
    “Pass it, puck hog!”
    Sometimes I listen. Sometimes I don’t.
    I never retell this story to anyone but my boyfriend. The police ask, but I say I know nothing. Even now, six years later, no one knows what really happened but me.
    I can remember the precise moment that I found out Jacob was really gone. His parents banged on my door, 2 days after his disappearance, begging for information. They didn’t care where he was. They just wanted him back. Whether that was so their reputation wasn’t harmed, or they actually loved him, I do not know.
    After 2 weeks, the cops gave up searching. It was obvious that there was no hope.
    In the newspaper article, Jacob is a rebel. They’d say he defied his parents and left for no reason. But in my memory, he had a reason to leave. His parents.
    That night, I saw a bag packed with a note next to it on his driveway. I didn’t ask. I just knew. But he didn’t tell me.
    I resent him for that. Our friendship was strong. If he at any given point had said, “Sarah, I’m leaving,” I would not have questioned, and might have joined him.

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