Community Stories. Get Inspired, Get Underlined

Dear Nikki

By @Raemags16


I lit a candle and set it on my dresser. Kyle’s picture leaned against my mirror, his lacrosse ball, our prom picture, and the picture of us from first grade all rested on the dresser, surrounding the candle.there were probably better shrines than this but it helped me to feel closer to him. Especially today.

It had been a whole year since he left for his once in a lifetime trip across the Appalachian Trail; just him, a solar charger, his phone, and a backpack was all he took. He had people set up in different states to see and visit with for a bit. He said it was safe. It should have only taken two or three months; he should have been back home by now. But he wasn’t. 365 days since anyone had heard anything from him. His family was a mess. Heck, I was a mess. Even though everyone said that I should let him go and move on, I never felt like I could.

Taped over the mirror was the pictures he had sent during the first two months of his trip. Him standing next to natural waterfalls, sitting near a tidepool where life hummed just below the puddling surface, sunsets and sunrises, him in a sleeping bag under the stars and eating over a campfire. For two months I felt like I knew exactly where he was and where he was going. All the pictures he would text was a lifeline.

I remembered the day that he was supposed to come back; October 17th. It had been marked on my calendar for months. The whole day had been planned to the most minute detail. He would arrive at the bus station-the only bus station in Destin- and we would all meet together. Our families would join for breakfast, his mom would show him all of the acceptance letters to the colleges that she had been applying to for him in his absence; he would look at me and I would know exactly what he was thinking. Our day would be spent together and maybe we’d talk about our future together.

It was all planned out. It was perfect. Until it wasn’t.

Kyle never came. At first we thought he was just a little off schedule, lagging behind a bit but he’d be there within a few days. But he never showed. Then the phone calls started, asking the people he had stayed with when they’d seen him. As each person relayed the news that they hadn’t seen him in over a month the calls became more frantic, and hope for a simple delay was diminishing with each passing day.

After a week of phone calls and waiting we called the police, but how they could really help when Kyle’s schedule was only included the people he would stay with every couple of weeks and the pictures he sent never included any fixed landmarks or other people there was little they could do.

So we waited. And watched. For six months we all went to the bust station every day. Now, 365 days later, I was the only one. I guess it got to be to heartbreaking for his parents.

I sighed quietly and blew out the candle. One year. It was official.

Bzzzz-zzzz. Bzzzz-zzzz. Bzzzz-zzzz. Bzzzz-zzzz.

My phone? Why was it going off at this time of night? I stepped the dark, now wishing that I hadn’t blown out the candle, and picked up my phone.

Bzzzz-zzzz. Bzzzz-zzzz. Bzzzz-zzzz. Bzzzz-zzzz.

Text messages. And a lot of them it seems like. I flick open the lock screen and look at the name the texts are addressed from.

My heart leaps into m chest. I can’t breathe. Spots come into my vision and I think that I’m going to pass out. Blinking them away, I set the phone down and rub my eyes.

Okay, girl. Just take a moment. Breathe, calm down and look again. It had to be an allusion. Had to be.

As my heart rate slowed I looked at the phone again. Same as before. There, at the top of the screen was the name the texts were from. Kyle Mitchell.

Join the conversation

Like Love Haha Wow Sad Angry
Post a comment
2 Likes 2 Comments
Like Love Haha Wow Sad Angry

Become a Book Nerd

When you’re not reading books, read our newsletter.