This would be the last time.
The last time she would get to see him.
He was alone in the basketball court, bouncing the ball around with his back to her. All the times they had spent together played in her head as she walked over to him in her red tennis shoes.
The shoes he had gifted on her last birthday. Shoes she was sure he wouldn’t remember.
He was her best friends elder brother and treated her like a kid. He had told her he had an extra pair lying around. But it was her most cherished gift. He was after all her first love. He was her best friends elder brother She had read up about it just as she read up about everything else under the sun. She would forget, the articles said. First love would fade with time leaving only the sweet memories behind. She wished that would be the case for her because right now her heart seemed to be ripping in a million pieces.
She stopped and took a deep breath while chiding herself on being overly dramatic. She could deal with this. She was strong. Her family was moving to Australia. She knew she would keep in touch with her best friend and hear about him from time to time. Their families were close friends too after all. But she doubted she would ever get to see him again. She remembered the way he always looked out for her at school. Somehow when things went wrong, he was always there to set them right again.
He stopped and turned around when she neared him.
“Hey kiddo” he greeted, the same way he always did. She had hated it but now that she was leaving she realized she would miss it.
She smiled sadly at him and for the life of her could not get a word out without crying. She was trying her best to hold her emotions in check.
“All packed up?” He asked, tugging at her ponytail.
“Heyyy” she chided him in mock outrage. God, the list of things she would miss were growing longer by the minute.
“Mark, Sia” his mom called out from the front of the house. “Hurry up.”
“Your flight leaves in 3 hours right?” He asked, solemnly.
She nodded. “Thanks.” She said in a low tone. “For everything.”
She turned and walked back two steps, tears flowing down her cheek.
Then, she turned back and did something she would never have done under normal circumstances. But then this wasn’t a normal circumstance. This was goodbye.
She walked back to him and kissed him on the cheek. Their eyes met for the last time and then she was running back, wiping her tears along the way.
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