Thinking of You | By D.H Valdez
We used to have sleepovers at Alex’s house once a month or so. Less than at Jonathan’s house, but we enjoyed Alex’s best because it had a basement with a huge TV and a ping pong table, and was the nicest in general.
As we all sat there that morning, no longer third-graders, but ninth-graders, none of us knew that would be our last French toast together at that table. The last sleepover in that house.
There was no dramatic fallout.
Alex grew apart from us. He was a good friend all those years, so there was no resentment. Losing him seemed no big deal.
Sometimes though, when Jonathan and I would drive by his house on our way to pick up burgers during lunch, we’d talk about all the fun we used to have there.
We never really got to say goodbye to the place properly.
Our farewell was gradual and in many ways ongoing.
That’s why when the house went up for sale, I went to the showing.
I was inside for the first time in decades, but nothing was how I remembered. Everything felt so small, and old, and changed. The basement had been flooded, the floorboards warped from Seattle rain. In fact, not just the basement. The entire house was so warped and flushed away that I could not say farewell to it properly because I didn’t recognize it.
So I left as quickly as I could and went back to remembering everything the way it was.
“See you around,” I said as I drove away.
D.H. Valdez teaches Social Studies and Humanities at his former high school. He holds a Master’s Degree in Teaching from the University of Washington. He and his wife Holly grew up together in Seattle and continue to live in the city with their son. Valdez has previously been published in Lunch Ticket, The Citron Review, Flash Fiction Magazine, and Lost Balloon. He desperately awaits the return of the Seattle SuperSonics.