With the windows down, she wound her way through the center of town. The trees lining the street were the familiar orange and red of the fall season. She could smell the lake from a few blocks away. It had been years since she’d been back, but the familiar sights and smells brought the memories flooding back.
When she’d received the reunion invitation eight weeks prior, there was no urgency to respond. Upon leaving 15 years before, she vowed to not return. She had spent every one of those years putting the pieces back together and filling the hole his death had caused. Then she’d received the phone call. His mother was requesting her presence. Their high school was going to be doing a ceremony in his memory and his mother was hoping she could be there. In 15 years, this was the first time his mother had asked her for anything. She couldn’t say no. She RSVP’d to the reunion and began making the plans to return.
“Hello?” she said in anticipation.
“Hey.” said the solemn voice on the other end. It was his best friend. The three of them were often called The Three Musketeers. It was rare to see the three of them apart.
“Hey! What’s up? Are you two done with work already?” she asked.
“Um, kinda of.” She sensed the hesitation in his voice. “Are you alone?” he asked her.
“Yeah? What’s going on?” She was confused.
“Well, it’s Josh.” he said, his voice cracking. “Kara, he’s dead.”
She fell to the floor shaking, the phone fell to the floor.
Originally published 10/13/10 at Only Parent Chronicles.