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I see Jay enter the restaurant and I sit up a little straighter. An involuntary grin etches itself onto my face. 

Jay scans over the diners and spots me sitting at a booth. She sits down with a grim smile. 

"Hey girl! What's up?" I ask, ecstatic to see the person I've literally known for almost my entire life. 

"A lot of things, actually." 

  She takes a seat and disappointment washes over me as I realize sadly that she didn't even try to give me a hug or anything. But like all waves, the feeling quickly recedes. 

"Oh wow. Your skin... Do you want some of my color-changing makeup for your face? You're like, so pale. It must be frigid out there," I say blatantly.

"Uh...yeah. But I'm fine."

She takes in a big breath of air. 

"But, uh, there's something really important I need to tell y-" 

"And what is it you would like to drink?" 

A waitress with a whiny voice like a horse fly come to life stands at our table with her pen at the ready, obviously busy and annoyed despite her crumbling façade of calm. 

"Can I get that hibiscus ginger drink?" 

The waitress smiles a half-smile. 

"From what I can tell, no one has ever ordered it, but the Hibisgin is actually delicious."  

"Hibisgin," I repeat, rolling the word in my mouth. That's a funny word. 

"Yes...?" the waitress says, confused. 

Jay tugs at the hem of her cardigan.

"May I just get a small glass of water?" 

"Absolutely. I'll have those out right away." 

The waitress hurries away, leaving Jay and I alone to talk again. 

"So, this isn't easy to say, bu-" 

"Oh my God. I have to tell you. I started my own small business!" I squeal. 

"That's amazing, Carly," she says flatly. 

"I sell candles and scented products and it's doing so well. Can I show you some of the products? They're soooo cute," I say proudly, already whipping out my phone and scooting closer to her. 

Jay shrugs away from me, her loose-fitting denim jeans making a squeak as they rub across the cushion. The tip of her shoe lands in a small splatter of ketchup on the floor. Someone obviously didn't do their clean-up job well. 

"Oh my God, your shoes!" 

"Carly, relax, I'm not that worried about ketchup on my damn shoes."

"The bloody hell does that mean, Jay? Last time I saw you, practically had a mental breakdown when you got dirt on your pants!" 

"Things are different now, Carly. And actually-"

she glances around, her fingers twitching under the table, her voice suddenly quiet. 

This is not the Jay I know. Something happened to the fashionista, bubbly, beautiful girl I knew. It's probably something else though, and I'm not going to let it stop us from having a fun time. 


"Oh yeah, I was showing you my products. I have a whole online store. But oh my God, I'm so swamped all the time." 

She bites her lower lip so hard I can see a dribble of blood dripping down from her mouth. Jesus Christ, what, is she immune to pain? 

I keep flicking concerned glances toward her as I thumb my password and pull up my website. She wipes her lip with the back of her hand and smears red onto it. Gross. 

"So look, we have all these different designs- oh look how cute this bunny is- and we have bath bombs, and essential oils and stuff. Like isn't that so cool?" 

"Yes, but can't that wait? I need to tell you something...it's really important. I have-" 

The waitress sets our drinks down on our table with a clink so loud it sounded like the glasses themselves had shattered. But they hadn't. 

"Know what you're eating?" She asks, so annoyed  I feel bad for just being there. 

"We're actually leaving soon; we just wanted to chat for a few minutes," Jay explains. 

"Uh-uh. I heard they have the best ribs. Sam," I say, reading her nametag, "get me an extra large plate of ribs. I fasted all week for this, so it better be some good shit." 

Sam sighs and storms away like a toddler who's been told to go to timeout. 

"What the hell is her problem?" I whisper between snarky giggles. 

"She ain't gettin' a good Yelp review from us," I add. 

"Ok so can I finally tell you this damn shit I need to get off my chest?" she says, fuming. 

My phone blares out my (rather loud) ring tone. 

It's from one of my employees, Trisha. 

"Oh, sorry Jay, I need to take this." 

"Holy mother of God."

She curses as I step out onto the back patio. 

I cringe with disgust as I take the phone call. Most of the flowers out here are crinkly and shriveled. They better know I'm writing about this on Facebook. 

"Hey Trisha! What's up?"

"Oh my God.You won't believe this! Carly, some rando from Michigan just bought a sale worth over 5,000 dollars from us!" 

Oh my gosh. This could be huge for us. 

Me and Trisha chitter back and forth for a long time, discussing work at first, but eventually our conversations morph into personal stuff. 

I say goodbye and hang up with a satisfied sigh. 

I walk back into the restaurant, when I notice that our table is vacated and my large plate of ribs is sitting atop. Where did Jay go? 

Confused, I walk back to our table to investigate. There's a sheet of paper with scribbled handwriting.

Dear Carly, 

There's a reason why I suddenly wanted to meet up with you. I wish you weren't so inconsiderate when I was trying to tell you something, because I know, after this letter, you'll regret your actions today for the rest of your life. 

I have cancer. 

The doctors said they think I have a week at most, so I'm traveling with my family around the world. Please don't text me. I want to unplug for the last week of my life. I just wanted to meet up with you to tell you goodbye. You were a great friend and I'll miss you in the afterlife, more than you could imagine. 

Thank you for all these happy years of my life.


April 16, 2021 21:53

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1 comment

Evelin Smith
02:52 Apr 23, 2021

I'm an elementary school aspiring writer so I thought I would get a headstart. Please give me advice, thank you!


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