Today is to be a momentous occasion for James for today is the day he shall see his long-forgotten friends. Friends that many years have gone by since he last saw them.
“Has it been twenty, thirty, or even forty years ago since I last saw them all together,” he pondered.
James sat in a nice, soft, brown recliner facing a large window that looked out upon the beautiful, blue ocean. Such a relaxing view to ponder on life, and its successes and failures. He felt like one of his failures is not to see his friends for so many years. But he wondered if it was entirely his fault for such a predicament. Not entirely, but he did not help in the matter.
“We are soon to rectify the situation,” he muttered as he took a drink of his rum and coke. “But as usual, I’m the first one here.”
As it should be since he owned this cottage for the most part, but at one point all his friends had keys in their possession to come as much as they like. So many years ago when they were all so young, enjoying the adventures that blossomed in front of them. Dream destroyers had not yet erupted into their lives to change them forever.
“If we can only live a life of a child,” was said on many occasions.
As James looked out at the crashing waves he thought of his dear friends. The first one that came to mind is the one where there has been the longest split between them.
“You were always the adventurer, Chris,” said James with a chuckle. “Finally coming home to unite.”
James met Chris in their final year of elementary school. James had just started a paper route during a time when most people still received their news from a newspaper when they met. It wasn’t a pleasant occasion for James was surrounded by four bullies who were either trying to shove him off his bike or trying to grab his rolled-up newspapers. James was quite small for his age, and on the scrawny side so an easy target for ones trying to prove how tough they were. It didn’t help that he had light, brown skin so there were ones who thought they were superior to him.
“You don’t belong in this neighborhood,” they taunted him. “You belong in the area where all of our trash goes.”
There were other things said, but James forgot their derogatory insults long ago. What he remembers clearly is when Chris showed up at the scene.
“Hey!” James could hear behind him. “What do you think you are doing punks?!”
James looked back and saw a kid around his same age with light, brown hair, the same height as the bullies, medium build, and a look that told anyone he was ready for business.
“Mind your own business,” one of the bullies replied.
“I will once you leave him alone,” demanded Chris.
The four left James and headed toward Chris. What no one knew at the time is that Chris loved to watch pro wrestling. The wrestling many say is fake. That day Chris wanted to prove to all they were wrong. The bullies only took a few steps when Chris rushed them with a roar and the beatings commenced. Chris didn’t throw any pouches, but after he performed his moves the bullies probably wished to be punched instead. James just stood there with his mouth wide open as one was clotheslined, one body slammed, one head-butted, and the other a move James had no clue what you would call it. Chris would tell him later it was a move he created called the gut buster. Soon, the beating was over, and the two met. It would have probably ended there, but both ended up in the same class so their friendship blossomed.
James would quickly find out Chris was the adventuring type. Spent a lot of time in the woods, exploring, creating, or just wanting to get away from humanity.
“Let my mind free by being out here,” he said.
As the years ticked by, Chris told him that more than likely he would go into the military so he could explore the world, and take care of any evil that set out to destroy our dreams.
“Hope I see you soon,” James told him soon after school came to an end.
“We will,” said Chris and they both hugged.
The two would see each other again off and on as Chris came home for a bit. Chris at one point pondered staying home when James received the cottage from a family member.
“You are such a lucky dog,” he told James. “Such a beautiful area. You have entered heaven.”
But, it wasn’t long when he departed again after a party at the cottage with all of them. No one knew it would be the last time seeing Chris.
“We had some good times, buddy,” said James as he took another drink.
He considered all his friends close, but Chris was his top buddy.
James let his thoughts scatter for a moment as he watched the waves crash. He wasn’t the type to let his emotions loose even when he was by himself.
He started to think of his other friend he will see today.
“Karen,” he muttered. “There are times I wonder why I didn’t marry you instead.”
The two met in the final days of high school and parted ways not long after the last party with Chris.
“Was it a year later or maybe two or three?” pondered James.
She was quite the tomboy when they first met, and James found out quickly not to mess around with her. There were a few times James would find himself on the ground with her on top.
“Don’t mess with me,” she would tell him with a grin.
There were occasions the two would go into the woods Chris and James once went into. She had an adventuring spirit similar to Chris's plus she wanted to stay away from her home due to an abusive father.
“I wish I could just build a cabin out here and live,” she told James.
The two were like brother and sister, but the one time James saw here in a dress with her hair down he had to look away since thoughts came to mind he didn’t want to have when it comes to Karen.
“You looked like a goddess that day,” said James with a chuckle.
When James got the cottage she visited it the most. She was the first one James gave a key to so she could go there by herself to get away from her family.
It wasn’t long after the final party. It wasn’t long after James became serious with another woman that they also parted ways.
James married, and the kids came soon after, taking up most of his time, and loving it. But, he would think of his past friends ever so often.
Nick is the final friend he would see today. Met him in college in the same class. They had the same political views so they would chat quite often on a subject forbidden among anyone else.
“I was heavily into politics those days,” said James. “Now I stay far away from it.”
Nick liked being inside most of the time. Not sure if it was due to his pasty, white skin. They played board games and countless horror movies.
Time ticks by so fast that it seemed like as quick as their friendship started it came to an end when Nick moved to another state, and James started married life.
“It was a short friendship, but plenty of good memories,” James said and took a drink.
Even though he had many good memories with his friends being at the cottage with them felt like paradise. It was so unfortunate there were so few times they were together.
“I believe a couple of times,” thought James.
James closed his eyes and laid back.
Moments later, there is a knock at the door. James stood up and went to the door. When he opened it up not only did he see Karen, but also Chris and Nick.
“Welcome friends!” he cried out.
They entered, hugs taking place before they went to the living room.
“It’s so nice to be back here,” said Chris.
“Back to paradise,” said Karen.
“I can live here forever,” said Nick.
“Let me get the drinks and snacks,” said James. “So much to talk about.”
They had plenty of time to talk.
“Hey, dad!” William said as he entered the cottage. “I can’t believe how many sand dollars we found intact on the beach.”
William entered the living room and saw his father sitting in his favorite chair to view the ocean.
“You should come out with us,” said William.
He walked over to James, and the sand dollars dropped to the ground.
“Father?” he asked, but knew there would be no answer.
His father’s sightless eyes continued to look out at the ocean. There was a wide grin on his face.
Forever with his friends at the cottage.