Another never before published flashback. Enjoy!
Tommy looked for Jack after school when his friend didn’t show up for a baseball meeting. It had been a month since Jack’s mom had died and they were getting close to graduation and their final season on Varsity. Tommy had won the catcher position and Jack was pitching.
It was all they ever hoped for.
But it meant nothing.
Everything had changed for Jack. His mom died after a battle with cancer and his dad took off, basically leaving Jack completely on his own. Tommy and his family took him in and were making sure he was taken care of, but Tommy knew how upset his friend was.
He drove out to the park and saw Jack sitting on the bleachers, alone. He parked and got out, making his way to see him.
“Hey, what happened to you? I thought we were going to head to the meeting together,” he said as he jumped on the bleachers and sat next to him.
Jack looked at his hands and shrugged.
“I needed some air. I have to figure things out.”
Jack looked at him in annoyance.
“Like what the fuck I’m supposed to do with my life? Baseball doesn’t matter anymore. College isn’t even possible. I am all alone and I need to figure out what that means.”
Tommy was confused.
“Why isn’t college possible? You earned a scholarship and we’re going to be rooming together. You love baseball and what else is there to figure out? Besides, I can’t wait to get away from Julie, so you have to stick to the plan,” he grinned.
“My mom is dead and my dad left me. I don’t know how to figure that out,” he said and wiped his eyes. “Nobody would care if I ran away and never came back.”
Tommy looked at him.
Jack sniffed and sighed.
“You say that now, but you’d get over me. Besides, you always hate how I beat you at everything. Your life would be better if I wasn’t here.”
“Well I wouldn’t miss your arrogance, but that’s not true.”
“That I beat you or you hate it?” Jack asked with a tiny smile.
“It’s just your damn dimples,” he grinned. “I’m smarter and I’m nicer.”
“I’m nice,” Jack pouted.
“Weren’t you here to cheer me up?” Jack asked.
“Well I was, but now you’ve pissed me off. Why are you such a dick?”
“It’s part of my charm. Maybe that’s why it’s best if I go.” “
“Who cares?” Jack stood up and walked down to the grass. “Isn’t that the whole issue? Who is around to care anymore? Why do you care if I’m such a jerk?”
“Because you’re in my picture,” Tommy said.
Jack looked at him and was confused. “
I don’t follow.”
Tommy got up and followed him to the grass.
“You’re in my picture. When I look at my life, any part of it, you are there. You have been my best friend since we were six and when I look at the future, I see us together, going to college, hanging out at parties, dating women, graduating and opening up our successful medical practices together. You’re a part of my life and I don’t want that to change. I’m sorry your dad was a dick and left, but your mom had such faith in you, and I know you don’t want to throw that away. You’re in my picture and if you weren’t there, it wouldn’t be my picture anymore. I like my picture.”
Jack smiled and Tommy shrugged. “That sounded kind of creepy,” Tommy said. “I just would miss you if you weren’t around, that’s all.”
“You think we’ll be this close in 20 years?” Jack asked.
“Sure. You don’t?” Tommy questioned.
“Not much in my life has lasted like I anticipated. I don’t know if I believe this will.”
“Well, I’m kind of annoying like that. I tend to stay long past my welcome. I wandered into your driveway and really never left. My sister worships you and as much as I tell her to back off, she treats you like her brother. My parents adore you and at times I think they would rather have you as their son than me. I just don’t see a scenario where we aren’t in each other’s lives.”
Jack nodded, deeply affected by Tommy’s words. “You promise?”
Tommy punched him on the arm and smiled.
“I’m not going anywhere.”