Dear Friend, Where Are You by Nia Hall

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.

Dear Scooby, 

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”.

Love Always, 

Star

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. 

Dear Scooby,  

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,

Star

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.” 

Dear Sam, 

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?

–Star

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. 

Today:

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?”

 “WHY?” “WHY?” 

 “how 

 could 

 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. 

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