It's been 6 years since Kim left Manhattan. After the death of her parents in a car accident, she went to live with her grandma in Philadelphia. It wasn't too far for Kim to come and visit her old school friends, but she couldn't. She was too afraid to face that city who took her parents away from her. She was too afraid to face the beautiful memories she had with her parents in that city. She was trying to move on in her life and she was winning in all this moving on stuff. But the truth was, she was missing her best friend Rachel.
Rachel, who always shared her tiffin with Kim, who always broke her candy into half and gave the bigger one to Kim, who once sneaked out of her house just to make crying Kim happy, who always knew everything about Rachel. They first met in the 4th grade in the school when Rachel was new in town. She was confused and scared. It was Kim who offered to be her friend and they become best friends.
Rachel and Kim were so close that those who did not know them thought the girls were siblings. They used to hang out together even after school, they used to study at each other's houses that their parents became friends too.
One day, Kim did not come to school. Rachel first thought that Kim is running late. But Kim did not come to school till recess time. Rachel knew something was wrong. Kim wouldn't miss the school if everything was alright. Rachel had a feeling that something is really not good with Kim. She decided to sneak out of school during lunch break and she did. She then ran at the nearest candy store and bought a big packet of candy. She hurried towards Kim's home and when she reached there, Kim was lying on the bed with a thermometer in her mouth. Rachel was right. Something was wrong with Kim. she had a fever. When Rachel went to Kim’s place, Kim was so happy to see her best friends that half of her sickness just vanished. The girls played for a long time and Rachel even read a story of the Disney princess to Kim.
Kim was missing all this in Philadelphia. She wanted to meet Rachel and ask for the other half of Rachel’s candy. When she told Rachel about moving to Philadelphia, Rachel cried a lot. The best friends were parting away.
Kim, during all her tough days, did not call Rachel even once. She left all her memories in Manhattan. She did not think about the city or the people in the city to avoid the memories of her parents.
Kim was missing Rachel and she decided to call her. She picked the phone and dialed Rachel’s home number. Unfortunately, it was out of service. Kim tried 3 to 4 times but still, the number was unreachable. That day she felt eager to see her best friend. She kept trying Rachel’s home number for the next 10 days until she found her old notebook from school in which Rachel wrote down her mom’s number just for emergencies. Kim dialed that number and it actually rang. “Hi, this is Amanda.”, Kim recognized Rachel's mom’s voice. “Hi, Mrs. Wheeler. I am Kim. Is Rachel there?”
“Oh my god, Kim? Hi honey, how are you. It’s been so long.” Rachel’s mom replied with excitement. Kim was not only her daughter’s best friend, but she was also her second daughter. “I am good Mrs. Wheeler. How are you?”, Kim asked in a lower voice. She was feeling guilty as she did not call Rachel in all these years and did not leave her grandmother’s phone number for Rachel. “I am good Honey. By the way, Rachel is not here.”
“Can you tell her Kim called? I really want to talk to her.” , Kim was sad that she couldn’t talk to Rachel. “Sure Honey. I will tell her.”, Mrs. Wheeler assured her.
Days passed and Kim still did not receive any call from Rachel. She again called on Mrs. Wheelers Number but still could not talk to Rachel.
This time, Kim thought something was wrong with Rachel. Rachel otherwise would have returned her call. But she did not, Rachel did not call her best friend back.
Kim was worried about Rachel. They were so close friends in their school days that if one of them was in trouble the other one could sense it. That bond wasn’t over. Kim thought for so long and then decided to go to Manhattan. It surely was tough for Kim to visit the city after so many years. She tried to forget everything that belonged to the city. But deep down she knew it was impossible to forget Rachel. Rachel was always with Kim when she needed her. Now it was Kim’s responsibility to meet Rachel and see if she was doing okay. How can someone erase everything from childhood, no one can. Kim still missed her school days and play dates with Rachel. She missed their lunchtime. She missed the homework together at each other’s home. She missed Rachel a lot.
After 2 days, Kim left for Manhattan. She was nervous and a bit scared. She was heading towards something which she tried to leave behind in all these years. This trip was going to be overwhelming for her but she was ready to do that for her best friend. She reached Manhattan and when she stepped out on the streets of Manhattan, everything from her past flashed in front of her eyes. She decided to stay calm and strong and hurried towards Rachel’s house.
When Kim reached Rachel’s house and rang the doorbell, as expected Mrs. Wheeler opened the door and greeted her with a big smile. Kim entered the house and immediately started searching for Rachel. Again, disappointment spread all over her face when she heard Mrs. Wheeler in the background. “Rachel isn’t home honey. I am sorry.”
“What’s wrong Mrs. Wheeler. Why she isn’t returning my calls and why she isn’t home? Where is she.”
Mrs. Wheeler seemed worried. Kim looked at her with confusion.
“Kim, when you left this city. Rachel lost her only friend. She spent her days staring at the telephone hoping you would call. But you did not. After some days. She broke the phone out of anger. Now she spends all her day out somewhere which I don’t know. She never tells me where she goes after college. She returns home late at night every day.”
Kim had no idea what her friend went through after she left the city. She felt guilty and sad. She went to Rachel’s room and sat on her bed where they used to have movie afternoons. Nothing was changed in her room. Not even her red furry blanket which they used to share for sleepovers. Kim had a glance at everything and suddenly something came into her mind. She went downstairs and hugged Rachel's mom.
“I know where she is. See ya soon.”, Kim took her coat and rushed towards the door. Mrs. Wheeler was surprised by this sudden event. Kim went to a Book cafe near the school and had a glance at each and every table. As soon as she looked at her left, she saw her best friend Rachel reading a book and having candies on her table. Kim was so happy, not because she found Rachel, but because she knew Rachel very well.
Rachel was a huge bookworm. When they were in school, they always used to go to the Book cafe where Rachel used to read and Kim used to eat candies. They used to spend hours in silence. Rachel used to enjoy her book and Kim used to enjoy her candies.
“Rachel?”, Kim called her. Rachel looked up in surprise. She couldn’t believe who was standing in front of her. There was a moment of silence until Kim went and sat next to Rachel.
“How are you, Rachel?”, Kim asked in a low voice “I tried to call you”.
“What are you doing here Kim?”, Rachel was angry.
“I came to see you.”, Kim placed her palm on Rachel’s arm.
“Isn’t this too early?” , Rachel said ignoring her eye contact.
“I know you are mad at me. I am sorry. I really needed to distract myself from my parent's death. And in all that, I forgot about my best friend.”
Rachel remained silent for almost 5 minutes and suddenly she burst into tears.
“I waited for your call, Kim. I wanted to help you. I knew how much hurt you were after the incident. I thought I will take care of you. I wanted to make sure you are okay. I even went to your house many times just to see if in case you returned. But you just vanished. I was worried about you.”
Finally, Rachel took everything out of her heart. After all, she could not stay angry for too long.
“How did you know I was here?”, Rachel asked out of curiosity.
“I went to your room, I mean our room. Nothing was changed in that room. I thought about our movie afternoons and our sleepover. I realized, if nothing changed with that room, then nothing changed with you. I know you love this cafe. We used to spend our time here when we were bored and needed something to do. I knew I can definitely find you here.”
Rachel was happy to hear that Kim still knew her very well.
“I spend most of my evening at this cafe hoping someday you would come.”
“And here I am. Hey, by the way, do they still have that candy cake?”, Kim asked out of curiosity.
Rachel smiled and pulled a new box out of her bag. The box was full of candy. Rachel kept the box on the table and took one candy from it. She broke the candy into half and offered the bigger one to Kim. Kim took the bigger half and ate it with a bright smile on her face. Everything was just the same.
They spent almost an hour in the cafe.
“Kim”, Rachel looked her in the eyes and said. “You always had me by your side. You still have. You were never alone. I even convinced my mom to adopt you. But you left the city."
Kim slightly laughed and said, “ You are really sweet. But you know, I had to go with my grandmother. In all these years, I had many friends but no one was like you. No one shared the bigger half of candy with me.”
“I too had many friends but no one enjoyed the Disney princess stories.”
“How about we plan a sleepover at your place and you read me a princess story?”, Kim suggested.
“I would love that.”, Rachel jumped in excitement.
Kim spent 2 days in Manhattan. They did everything they used to do back in school. She promised Rachel that she will visit her every month and invited her to Philadelphia. They started visiting each other’s houses every month.
In the end, friendship won over time and distance.