This is Issue 55 of Hope On The Rocks, entitled "One Man's Past".
This issue is Ridley-centric.
507, One Man's Past
”I’m gonna ask her today, Dan.”
“You said that yesterday, R. What’ll your excuse be this time?” Danny says, taking a box with junk out of the storage.
“Hey.” I say, raising my hands. “She was on her phone.”
“Yea, yea. Help me get these downstairs.” Danny says, refering to the four boxes with junk on our table.
Danny and I own a storage facility. We store junk for people. Though this woman hasn’t payed for three months, so we’re gonna return the boxes to her.
“So, R,” Danny says. “I assume you’re going on a date again tonight?”
“Actually,” I say with a big smile, taking one of the boxes. “I am taking her a trip to America.”
“Really?” Danny asks, surprised. “Man, she’s gonna love America.”
I am sitting in Doug Tallie’s backyard. The grave we made for Nick has a flower on it. I don’t know who put it there.
The cross is made of two planks, Nick’s name engraved.
I think. About the time in Rogersville, back where Nick was still alive. It feels so far away, yet so close.
I know I had only known Nick for a few months, but that was enough. I do believe in love at first sight, and I think it’s the same with friendships. You know it instantly if someone is meant to be your friend. And Nick was meant to be mine.
“You know,” I hear Chad’s voice saying. I don’t look back, I keep looking at the flower on the grave. “Nick and Lia spent an entire day without eating, sleeping... they mourned Nick’s wife. She died... because of me.”
I take a deep breath. I blame Chad for the death of Nick, I do. If he had just seen Doug, Nick would still be here.
“I know Lia thinks that I caused Nick’s death. But, Ridley, I hope...” Chad says, but I interrupt him.
“I hope what?” I say, looking at Chad. “That you didn’t casued Nick to die? Chad, you did. If you had just seen Doug back there...” I open my mouth, trying to speak. “You’re supposed so be our leader, Chad. How can you lead us if you can’t see our enemies?”
Chad doesn’t say anything.
“John Sheen, Nick, Doug’s kid.” I continue. “Odin. You could have saved those people, Chad. You could have saved Esther and the others too.”
I get up and walk towards the silent Chad. He looks like he is just bearing over with me, but I don’t care. I want to tell him this. I need to.
“Get it together, Chad. If you’re gonna be out leader, act like it.”
It was Danny who got Esther and I together. He told me that his new neighbour was cute. At first, I didn’t care. Just another girl. But then I saw her, Esther, and she was beautiful. It was really love at first sight.
I haven’t heard from Danny since the outbreak. Odds are that he’s dead, though there’s a chance. If I ever find him, I will not hesitate in taking him into the group. I owe that man so much.
Right now, I am sitting in the living room, looking at the TV’s black screen.
“If you had a time machine, what would you do?” I hear the voice of Doug Tallie’s 18-year old daughter saying. I look behind me, seeing her walking towards me. She sits down in the couch acroos this one, in which I am sitting.
“I guess you would go back to before Lia shot your brother.” I say, trying to fake a smile. No success, though.
“No.” Kristen says. “No, I’d go back to August 12th, 2001.
“What happened there?” I ask, not really caring. Just to be polite.
“Jamie and I played catch in the forrest.” Kristen begins. “We ran around while our parents were preparing picnic. We stumbled across this guy collecting mushrooms. He told us a story about a man who had everything, and in the end died without feeling like he achived anything in his life.”
“Why would you go back to there? That sounds like a depressing story.” I just say.
“It was. But it was a good story.” Kristen says. “I just can’t remember it, though. I want to, but I can’t.”
She looks at me. I don’t say anything.
“What would you do? Where would you go?” She asks me.
I look at her, saying “I’d go to January 6th last year.” I say. “The date I proposed to Esther.”
Kristen smiles, asking “So... you’re engaged?”
I smile back. “She said no.”
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