Dear Friend, Where Are You?
6/12 Scooby’s been missing for a week now. He always wanders off, but this is the longest amount of time that he’s been gone for and we’re all starting to get a little worried. The last time I saw him, we’d been picking random herbs and flowers out of his grandmother’s garden for her to use in one of her healing rituals. Scooby had gotten distracted at one point and had started picking seeds from the Morning Glory plants that lined the white, picket fence bordering the garden. He’d worked quickly when he’d done it, sweat pooling at the nape of his neck, his dark, black hair frizzing up from the humid, summer air, giving him a slight afro. Once he had finished picking all that he could, leaving a medium sized patch of the flowers untouched, he’d ground the seeds up and had placed them in water to soak for the remainder of the day.
Later that night, after we’d gathered everything on his Grandma Rose’s healing list, we ingested the seeds and wriggled our way underneath the crawlspace between the back porch and the house. I’d felt my way around, in the soft soil below me, searching for something. Scooby did the same. After about a minute, my hand came into contact with something metal and cylindrical, and I pushed the button on the side of it up.
“Let there be light,” I’d said, as the space beneath the house became suddenly illuminated by the glow coming from the flashlight, now in my hand.
Scooby smiled, and I led the way under the house. Once we’d gotten to the point underneath the house, where the Earth dipped beneath us, we sat up. The space below the house, had already been set up with sleeping bags and a quilt underneath them. Scooby brushed the day’s dirt off of them and lied down on one of the bags with his head resting is his hand. He was still smiling.
“What are you smiling about?”
“We’re about to be so high, soon, Star. Just wait.”
“How do you even know it’ll work?”
“Because I read about it in one of Mama Rose’s books. Duh.”
“So what, we just wait?”
“Yeah, we wait.”
And so we did.
6/13 I don’t remember what happened after the trip. I don’t even remember if we did actually end up hallucinating from the seeds of the Morning Glory plants. Every time, I try to recall what happened, I only see the image of Scooby’s face and the palm of my hand, cupping his cheek. Then he fades away.
6/14 Last night I woke up in a rush, sweating, heart racing. I think I might’ve screamed, because Grandma Rose came running into the room. His room. She told me, “It’s okay, child. It’s okay. Just a bad dream. Just a bad dream is all.” She’s been letting me stay here, while they search for
him. I’ve spent a lot of time in this room before, but somehow it feels foreign. The air a little too sticky now, the sheets a lot scratchier than I remembered. At least the pillow still smells like him, like mahogany and fresh soil.
My parents are gone per usual, so I know that there’ll be no one at my own home to miss me. I know Grandma Rose is scared and, to be honest I’m a little scared, too. This isn’t like him at all. I hope he comes home.
6/15 Today, Grandma Rose tells me that maybe writing letters to him will help me to deal with him not being here. I think she also hopes that it’ll help me to remember what happened the night before he went missing. I’m not sure how I feel about writing to someone that I feel should be here. Someone I feel never left. I think it would make him being gone too real and I’m not ready for that yet. It’s only been a bit over a week. He’s going to come back.
I really miss you. I don’t know what to say in this letter really. Grandma Rose said that this is a way to help me cope with you not being here. She misses you, too, of course. I mean, how could she not? You’re her only grandchild.
Lila visited me today too. She told me that she had something important to tell you whenever you come home. She said that she knows you’ll be home soon, because you couldn’t leave her without saying goodbye. I don’t mention that I didn’t get a goodbye either. I think it’d be insensitive to say something like that to your grieving girlfriend, but I’ve known you longer. I knew you first. Still, it’s kind of odd of you to not say goodbye to either one of us. It’s even stranger that you didn’t say goodbye to Grandma Rose. I thought we were all your “favorite girls”.
6/16 Grandma Rose suggested that we go on a walk to clear our heads, to get some fresh air. On the walk, I saw his face everywhere I went. He was in the clouds above me, etched into the bark of the trees, in my own reflection in the lake.
Do you remember the day that we gave you that nick-name. You, Lila, and I had been sitting in the garden smoking pot. We’d all skipped school that day to celebrate you getting the new job at the plant nursery, at the edge of town. Even Grandma Rose had made us a huge pitcher of sweet tea that morning, after doing a cleansing of the house with sage.
We were so happy then. There was a sense of togetherness between all of us. That was before you and Lila had started sneaking off to be on your own, just the two of you. Before you two started whispering sweet nothings into each others’ ears and giving each other small pecks on the lips, that you thought were too quick for me to catch. But I noticed. I always notice you.
But anyway, you’d gotten so high that day that you couldn’t feel your toes. At least, that’s what you’d told us. You kept laughing at all of our dumb jokes, especially at mine. At one point, you’d gone inside to get a snack. You’d been taking a while, so we went to go check on you. When we found you, you were lying on the ratty, old couch in the den. You had a box of snacks resting on your chest. The label read: Bakery fresh, blueberry muffin dog treats. The box was empty. Lila and I started laughing hysterically. I asked if you’d eaten this whole box just now and you smiled, the big, dopey, ear-to-ear kind of smile you’re so famous for around town. The smile that, no doubt, had gotten you the job at the nursery. “You know these are dog treats,” I’d asked you and you grinned even wider. “They were really good,” was your hazy reply. From
then on out, you became Scooby to all of us. I guess we could’ve gone with Shaggy, but I don’t think it would’ve stuck as well.
Please come home soon.
Always and Forever,
6/17 I woke up in the middle of the night again. In my dream, he was lying motionless, in a pool of his own blood. I kept shaking him, trying to wake him up, but his eyes remained closed. His skin was cold to the touch and drained of all color.
“Please, Scooby,” I cried to him. “Please, please, please. Wake up.”
Can you tell how desperate I’m becoming in your absence? This is the third letter I’ve written to you. I’m not sure if you’re ever going to get to read them. I’ve missed the way your name looks on paper. Not Scooby, but your actual name. Samuel. S-A-M-U-E-L.
Lila told me that she’d seen you the day that you went missing. She was practically bragging about it all over town. She said that you’d confided in her right before you left. That you told her something you’d never told another soul before. Not even me. She told me that you’d sworn her to secrecy. She had that stupid smirk on her face that she always has when she knows something someone else doesn’t. You know the one. Lila can be such a bitch sometimes. I don’t know why you’d tell her something that you couldn’t even tell me, your oldest and closest friend. I feel like she’s lying.
She also told me that she thinks you’re dead. I hit her when she said it. I don’t even remember it. Hitting her. All I know is that right after she said it, she was clutching her bleeding nose and my hand hurt like hell. Then she told me something worse. She told me that she’s pregnant. I think that I might’ve blacked out again when she’d said that. She said that the baby’s yours and that she wants to keep it. Did you know, Sam? Why didn’t you tell me? Is that why you left? Is that why you left me?
6/18 All of the letters I wrote are gone. I can’t find them anywhere and I know that I left them on the desk in Sam’s room. I looked up and down the house and couldn’t find them. They’ve vanished. I asked Grandma Rose if she’d seen them or had put them anywhere and she told me that she hadn’t. It’s so weird. I could’ve sworn that I’d seen them yesterday. Hopefully, they turn up tomorrow.
I’m still searching for the missing letters. I even phone Lila to see if she’s taken them out of spite, to get back at me for hitting her. She tells me that she doesn’t know what the hell I’m talking about and to leave her alone. “I love him, too,” she cries to me through the phone, and I hang up before she can utter another word.
Grandma Rose has gone out for the day, and she said she’d check in with the post office, to see if she’d accidentally taken the letters there. I don’t know what she would’ve done at the
post office with unaddressed letters, but I think she feels better not being at home, surrounded by so much of him and not actually him. I understand the feeling.
I step outside, to soak up the sun in the back yard. I haven’t been out here, since he went missing. This was always his place. It feels strange, him not being here. Right now, we’d be drinking sweet tea on the porch, listening to the sounds of the birds chirping in the trees. I think of all the great memories we shared out here. I think about the nights we’d spent stargazing outside, and then we’d crawl beneath the house to have sleepovers in the sleeping bags and talk about the dreams we had for when we got out of this town.
I don’t know why or how I got there, but I’m under the crawlspace, looking for the flashlight, like I have a million times before. There’s a foul smell coming from underneath the house. My hand brushes over something flat and smooth, but I don’t know what it is. I keep feeling for the flashlight and finally my hand connects with metal, but there’s also something caked onto it. Maybe dirt. I push the on button up, and see that there’s a reddish, brown substance that’s dripped down from where the light shines out to the base of the flashlight. It’s hardened. I look around me and see what my hand brushed up against at first. It’s one of the letters. I shine the light further and see another letter ahead of me. I follow it and the smells gets worse. I think I might faint. Once I get to the third letter, where the sleeping bags and the dip in the Earth are, the smell is suffocating me. I think I might throw up. My head starts to feel light and suddenly, all of these thoughts race in:
I remember his lips on mine, then
yelling. No, not yelling. Fighting. Crying. I’m beating on his chest. Him. trying to calm me down. “WHY?”
You?” “How could you do this to me?”
More screaming. “Don’t. Touch. Me.” Rubbing my palms against my thighs, until they burn.
“I love her,” he says. “I love you, too,” he says. No. no. no. no. no. no. no. “NO!” More crying. Shaking uncontrollably.
“I’m going to marry her.” Silence. The sound of metal
connecting with bone. More silence. Crying. A million apologies.
“I’m sorry, Sam. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to. I’m so sorry. Please, forgive me. Please Sam, wake up. Wake up. Wake up”
My palm pressed to your cheek, cupping your head in my hand.
I close your eyes and wrap you up in one of the sleeping bags, gently rocking you in my arms, the letters scattered on the ground around us.
Nia Hall is a 24- year old, born and raised, Houstonian. she attended Stephen F. Austin State University, where she studied dance and minored in creative writing. There, she found her love for writing poetry and later her love for short stories.