The Skeleton Tree

For the Fault In Our Stars competition.
Rowan remembers the days spent with her old best friend, Henry, who seems to have disappeared out of her life. Wanting to get their friendship back on track, Rowan finally realises why they had drifted apart in the first place.

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That day in the woods had felt like something. It felt like the beginning of something amazing, beautiful, miraculous. We were alive, healthy, no stress or hormones yet.

It was me who grew up first. I persisted with his silly games, although I'd rather have been doing something else. I trusted him and knew that it would soon be his turn to grow up, and we could maybe do grown-up stuff. But it didn't work like that. Henry went to another school. We stopped talking. I tried so hard, but talking to him was like extracting information from a criminal. It was forced and I felt like I annoyed him all the time. The last time I saw him was through a car window, with a bunch of mates. He didn't even smile. I sit in my room, going through all this in my head. What happened? How did I let it happen? My laptop rests, shut, on my bedroom floor, calling to me. Sighing, I pick it up and log on to Facebook. Henry's wall is filled with messages from people I have never heard of. My heart sinks. He obviously hasn't even thought of me and how I am doing.

Slowly, I click on the message button.

"Hi." I say, already regretting it. He'll never want to speak to me. I wait a few seconds, nervous.

"Hey." He replies, and my heart quickens.

"How are you?" I type.

"I'm good thanks, you?"

"Fine thanks." The little icon pops up, telling me he saw my message. After another few seconds, I realise the conversation ended.

"Do you remember the day we found the hanging rope?" I type.

"Yeah, why?"

"I thought about it a lot. I miss those days."

"Do you? We were pretty stupid kids." He says, and I feel embarrassed. Of course, no one misses being a kid, playing games. He'll think I never moved on. The message box is empty, and I think I have blown it, when he begins typing. He types for a painfully long time, and I wonder what he could possibly be saying. It's almost as if he is deciding whether or not to give up on me, or persevere. 

"We should meet up sometime. How about tomorrow?" He says, and I sigh with relief, my body flooding with happiness. Brighter times are coming. Nothing is bad when Henry is around.

"Okay." I say. And that was that. I may just have my best friend back.

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