There are so many stories in this funny old world; I could tell you stories of teacups and mittens, of towers and strange men. I could, but these are not my stories, and today I will tell you one of mine. Be gentle, dear reader, this fabrication is woven with memory.
I was little, just two years old, when I met the boy who would quickly become my dearest friend. From our first meeting we spent almost every day together. We fought, a lot, but I’ve always thought you’re meant to. Someone you never disagree with is lying to you.
Life passes rapidly, and soon I am 11 years old. My friend tells me a story, but he tells it wrong.
He tells me he’s moving. He’s moving away, to Malaysia! That his father is whisking him away for adventure. He promises we’ll stay in touch. He promises he’ll see me again.
It is four weeks later that I finally begin to realise my friend is gone. I was, am, an awkward kid. I never had many friends, so I held on tight to those I somehow acquired. 4 weeks, 28 days, I spent without the person I’d spent almost every day with. No e-mails, no phone calls, not even a postcard with a picture that would upset my mother, as had become tradition with our adventures.
My friend isn’t dead, by the way. It would be useful if he was, right now – I’m supposed to make you feel sad, feel something, that’s what a writer does, right? But he’s not dead. He never has been.
See, on the 29th day, and yes, I’m afraid I was counting, he came back. I wanted to be angry, to rage at him like nothing else for scaring me and never telling me he’d be coming back, or for lying to me: he’d just gone on holiday, he was never moving away. But I couldn’t. I couldn’t be angry.
He gave me a little leather strap, supposedly a friendship bracelet, and he told me ‘This is for when you think I’m not coming back. I am.’
I think that strap probably cost him a few pennies. I don’t care.
We’ve been friends ever since he came back, though every friendship has its troubles. He told me to wear the strap when I thought I wouldn’t see him again, and I’ve only worn it twice since then.
I wore it the day after his partner kissed me. I wanted him to scream at me, or to rage and cry. But he didn’t. We talked. He understood. We moved on.
I wore it the day he lost his partner, and everyone who knew him worried he’d lose himself too. That none of us would see him again.
I saw him the next day. We got pizza, and watched TV. He cried. He raged, and cried, and screamed. And then he was OK.
I haven’t seen him for a long time. He lives a few houses down from me, yet we always seem to miss eachother. At least, I miss him.
The strap is cracked now, and any colour it once had is gone. But I have it with me, near me, all the time. Because it reminds me.
When I upset him.
He came back.
When he was broken.
He came back.
When I miss him.
He’ll come back.