My Best Friend, I Miss You

 Jake is staring out his window, tracing the rain droplets’ paths as they run down the glass. It’s been raining for three days straight and even though he isn’t the biggest fan of sunshine, he’s starting to get really sick of the clouds. He looks out across the city, past the towering office buildings holding stressed out employees trying to meet deadlines, past the cars on the crowded streets splashing up puddles as they speed around corners, past the soggy people on the sidewalks rushing to get out of the rain, he looks past everything and still can’t seem to find a blue sky.

 When Jake walks into his kitchen he can’t stop himself from letting out a dejected sigh when he sees the fruit on his counter starting to grow fuzzy and covered in little flies. It’s when he hears the upbeat music of a game show rerun he’s already seen twice that realizes it’s been awhile since he’s left his apartment, almost a week and a half since he was fired from his job. He hated it, working as a grocery store cashier wasn’t what he expected to be doing with his master’s degree in computer technology, but at least it was something to pay the bills. He knows he needs to go out and look for a something new to put food on the table but Jake can barely muster the energy it takes to turn on the computer. He thinks about all the other times he’s felt completely unmotivated and how he would call his cousin, Matt, up for drinks and a venting session. It’s been awhile since Jake’s visited him and thinks that it’s time for a long overdue visit to his best friend.

 Without much thinking Jake puts on a pair of pants that aren’t stained sweatpants and a hoodie and is out the door. He knows that as soon as he’s with his cousin things won’t be as gloomy.

 

 He remembers this one road trip with Matt. It was the summer they both turned nineteen and decided to get away from the family.

 “You know what I think?” Matt said. He was leaning back against a tree in Jake’s back yard, legs sprawled out in front of him as he picked at the green grass surrounding him.

 “Hmm?” Jake hummed back, he was laying on the grass next to him, eyes closed and face towards the sky. They were in their jointed backyards. Their parents lived next door to each other since before the boys were born and never thought it necessary to put up a fence. Growing up the cousins were always thankful for that.

 “I think we should go on a road trip. I just got my new truck and I think she needs to get broken in.”

 “A road trip? Are we allowed?”

 “We’re nineteen! Come on man, we’re adults.”

 Matt was right, they were adults. They were allowed and they deserved a break.

 “Hell yeah we are!” Jake sat up in the grass with his lips stretched tight in a smile. “Let’s go on a road trip!”

 Matt smiled back and they both got up to run home, throwing all the clothes they could find, clean and dirty, into a duffel bag before running back to meet at Matt’s truck.

 “So, where are we going?” Jake finally asks, they’ve been driving for almost an hour and nothing really looks familiar anymore.

 “I don’t know,” Matt admits with a laugh. “Maybe somewhere sunny.”

 And that’s exactly what they did, they drove and drove for what seemed like forever to Jake back then. Past the city’s towering buildings, past small town churches, and acres of cornfields until they found a lake reflecting the beautiful orange setting sun. They stayed there until it was gone and all they were left with was a black sky spotted with stars. They slept on the dock that night, looking up at the endlessness above them and getting eaten alive by mosquitoes but neither of them cared much.

 

(Excerpted)

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