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The Last Goodbye

By , Vega, TX
“Promise me something Brad.” I said as I looked into his perfect blue eyes. I was young but I was one-hundred percent sure of my feelings.

“Anything, love” he whispered back.

I slid my hand into his. “Promise me that you’ll hold my hand like nothing’s wrong, and that from now until you have to leave in the morning, you won’t let it go.”

Brad held my hand tightly and kissed my forehead, “Of course”

A week ago everything was normal. We were just two high school seniors young and in love. That may sound a little extreme. Sometimes I groaned just thinking about how cliché it was. We were going to graduate and go off to college together. Our relationship wasn’t perfect. We fought all the time, but we worked hard because the time we had together was precious. My parents loved him and by some miracle even his dad, the high school principle, approved. His dad was strict but for all the right reasons. He was the best person for the job of keeping my crazy high school in line. Unfortunately his boss didn’t think so. It seemed like he couldn’t do anything right in her eyes. Brad and his dad were getting ready to move to a small town 90 miles away from my own. I was going to miss both of them more than they could understand.

I loved Brad’s dad like he was my own. Mr. Hare was funny and sweet like Brad, but he was serious when he needed to be. I still couldn’t think of any reasons why someone wouldn’t want him around. I felt the lump in my throat start to form so I tried not to think about the move too much.

“Are you okay Layne?” Brad was trying way too hard to stay strong for me.

“No.” I didn’t have to explain why. Brad knew.

Brad got up from the couch and went into my room. Him going in there without asking me first was unusual but at that moment I couldn’t have cared less. Brad came back into the living room holding my pink guitar and a pick. “Please?” he whispered.

“Only if you join me.” Brad and I were both decent singers. His voice was definitely better than mine, but he loved to listen to me. Some days we would just sit alone for hours at a time letting the music fill the room. I started strumming soft chords as I listened to Brad’s tenor voice fill my ears. I would join in when I felt it was necessary. We looked straight at each other and let the love song speak to our hearts.

As I strummed the last chord Brad leaned over to kiss my lips. The kiss was soft and perfect, like most of his were. I stopped singing. I couldn’t finish.

“Layne?” Brad saw the look on my face and sighed. He took my face in his hands and held it tightly, fixing my eyes on his. “Stop. Just stop thinking about the move for five seconds. I just want to spend my last day here with you. I want everything to be normal for just a little while longer. Okay?”

“Okay. I’m sorry,” I sighed. He gave me a quick kiss. I smiled and started strumming on my guitar again. I sang the familiar chorus but actually listened to the words this time, “I’m lucky I’m in love with my best friend. I’m lucky to have been where I have been. I’m lucky to be coming home again.”

Those words were perfect. Brad was my best friend and he tells me all the time that I’m his also. “I love you so much,” I whispered.

“I love you too,” he said before he kissed me softly. I set down the guitar and leaned into Brad’s chest and he wrapped his arms around me. I closed my eyes and drifted to sleep in his arms.
***

“Layne? Baby, wake up.” I heard his low voice in my ears so I opened my eyes. The sun was shining brightly through the windows in my living room.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to fall asleep last night. I was just exhausted.” I grinned. That wasn’t a total lie, but I didn’t mind staying there all night.

“It’s okay but…” Brad’s voice trailed off.

“Oh, it’s time?” I knew exactly why he couldn’t finish his sentence.

“My dad will be here any minute now.” Brad looked at me with his soft eyes. He looked as if he had been crying. I had never seen Brad cry and I was sure he wouldn’t cry in front of me today. He put his right hand on my face and stroked my cheek. He leaned in to give me the last kiss before he walked out the door. “I’ll see you soon, love. I promise. We’ll see each other all the time.”

I turned my face to compose myself, because I knew that wasn’t true. It wouldn’t be the same as having him at school with me. How was I supposed to go through my senior year without him? I saw Mr. Hare’s pick-up pull into my driveway. I couldn’t help it anymore. The tears fell fast and hot down my cheeks. Brad gave me a quick hug and pulled away. “I love you, Layne.” His eyes were full of tears. I pulled my knees to my chest and sobbed as he walked out the door.

“I love you too,” I whispered with the fear that it could be the last time I said it in person.





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