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So, I don’t know how old Spencer is but we’ll say he’s 12 years older than Carly…
She was sound asleep and as Spencer stood in the doorway watching her he couldn’t help but be overcome with sadness. What had happened to the little girl he remembered? What happened to the innocent child he had watched grow up? She stirred, her brown hair spilling over her pillow. As he watched the small smile on her face he remembered.
As soon as he saw her face he forgot about how much he had resented her before. When they told him she was coming he’d felt a mixture of annoyance and insecurity. He had spent 12 years by himself, nobody to bother him or steal his parent’s attention. Now that she was here he didn’t know how he had managed to live those 12 years without this feeling.
“Hi baby,” he reached out to touch a finger to touch the small hand that was balled into a fist. She was cuter than he had imagined her she would be. She had dark hair, just like their mother, and brown eyes that had closed as she slipped into a soundless sleep. He stood over the incubator that held his little sister and stared at her.
“Spencer?” he turned, hands still on the edge of the incubator, and looked at his parents. Both wore soft smiles on their faces, “do you want to name her?” he looked back down at the baby and then to his parents again.
“I don’t know. Are you sure? She’ll have it the rest of her life.”
“I think you can handle it,” his dad nodded. Spencer turned back to his baby sister and thought for a minute.
“Carly.” He said simply. It fit her well. She looked like a Carly.
“Hmm…Carly…I think it’s perfect.” He heard his dad say. Spencer smiled.
Carly sat up in bed and rubbed her eyes.
“Spence? What are you doing?” she said sleepily. Spencer smiled.
“Nothing. You want some blueberry pancakes? I thought about making them just for you since you’re graduating today and everything.”
“Mmmm. I LOVE blueberry pancakes.”
“I can’t believe I’m graduating today.” She pulled her knees up to her chest and wrapped her arms around them.
“Me either, kid.”
“Do you think dad will come today?”
Spencer sighed.“No. But he’ll be watching. You know that.”
“I know,” she stood up and walked over to him, “I just wish he could come home to see me graduate, you know?”
“Yeah. I know. But guess what?”
“I have blueberry pancakes,” he smiled. She laughed, pushing past him and walking into the kitchen. He followed her, laughing quietly. Blueberry pancakes had always been their thing.
“Relax, Carly. They’ll still be there in two minutes.”
“But I want them now,” Carly whined.
“Relax.” Spencer chuckled. "You can barely reach the table, munchkin. Let me grab your booster seat.” Carly closed her eyes, folding her arms and shaking her head.
“I’m a big girl. I don’t need it no more.”
“Do you want pancakes?” she opened her brown eyes wide.
“Yes.” She nodded her head.
“Then you need to sit in your booster seat.” She stomped her foot.
“I don’t want to!” she screamed. Spencer sighed.
“Carly, mommy and daddy left me in charge. You have to listen to me.”
“Yeah huh.” Two could play that game and it was a game Spencer had mastered long ago. She screamed again, throwing herself on the floor. Spencer rolled his eyes.
“I don’t wanna!” she was pounding her small fists into the floor as hard as she could manage. It was the worst tantrum of her life and Spencer was in no mood to deal with it.
“Carly Elizabeth Shay you either sit in your booster seat and eat your breakfast or you can go take a nap.” She laid on the floor crying and screaming for five minutes. Spencer just stared at her.
“Fine, nap it is. Let’s go.” He picked her up from the floor.
“No! I don’t wanna take a nap!”
“You should have sat in your seat then.” He carried her, kicking and screaming, into her room and put her in her bed. She immediately jumped out of it and ran to the door. Spencer grabbed her before she ran out.
“I’m not kidding, Carly. You wanted to throw a fit so now you’re taking a nap.”
“Yes. Lay down.” His patience was wearing thin and he wondered how his parents dealt with this every day.
“I don’t wanna!”
“I don’t care. You’re taking a nap. God, you’re really annoying today,” she stopped screaming but continued to cry. She had perfected her pout in her short three years of life and it never stopped having an effect on Spencer, “God, I’m sorry Carly. I didn’t mean that.”
“I want blueberry pancakes,” she pouted. Spencer sighed.
“Fine.” She jumped off the bed and ran back into the kitchen.
“Spencer? What’s up with you? Are you even listening to me?”
“It’s kind of hard to take you seriously when you have bed head.” He laughed. Carly brushed her fingers through her hair.
“I’m so nervous.”
“Why are you nervous?”
“Because I’m graduating! Weren’t you nervous when you graduated?” he thought for a minute. He had been more thankful to be done.
“Nah. It was just like any other day to me except I had to go to school on a Saturday.” He laughed. Carly shook her head.
“Are you proud of me?” Spencer stared at her, waiting for her to say ‘just kidding.’ It never came.
“Of course I’m proud of you, Carly. You’re graduating high school. You have a scholarship to an amazing school and you’re in the top ten percent of your class. What’s not to be proud of?”
“I don’t know. I just feel like I’m running off and whatever.”
“You aren’t running off, you’re going to college. There’s a difference. Now if you were going to get married to a motorcycle guy in Vegas and get his and her tattoos then I’d be concerned.”
“But…” he could tell something was bothering her but he couldn’t put his finger on it, “nevermind.” She faked a smile and picked her fork up.
Carly was excited to start school. Spencer had spent the whole night telling her how great it would be. The thought of her crying on her first day killed him, especially since he couldn’t go to school with her. She looked so small with her backpack and lunchbox. He could tell she was still afraid.
“Spencer?” her voice was higher than usual and Spencer looked down at her.
“What’s up, buttercup?” it was something she had loved to be called until she was 10. Then it became uncool. She giggled.
“How long ‘til school?” he kneeled beside her and pointed up to the clock.
“When the big hand is on the seven we’ll leave.”
“Are you coming to school with me?” her big, brown eyes were full of hope. Spencer smiled.
“Honey,” their father spoke up, “Spencer has to go to his own school today.” Carly’s eyes welled up with tears again.
“Nah, I’m going to go to school with Carly today. They won’t miss me.” He winked at her and she smiled before looking up at their dad.
“Please daddy?” she pouted at him and he hesitated, looking at his son on the floor. Spencer nodded his head.
“Well, alright.” He was like clay in her hands. She could get whatever she wanted when she pouted. Spencer knew once she got there and saw all the things she could do she would no longer need the protection of her big brother.
“Is it time yet?”
“What’s up, Carly? Not having second thoughts are you?” he would have loved to hear her say ‘yes.’ He would have given anything to keep her at home forever.
“No. I don’t know. I mean, I feel bad just leaving you here. You’ve taken care of me forever. You gave up college and everything for me and now I’m just ditching you.” She poked her fork into her uneaten pancake and sighed. Spencer laughed.
“Carly, that’s ridiculous. I chose not to go to college. It had nothing to do with you. I could have gone to college and still taken care of you, but I wasn’t cut out for college. You are. Face it, kid. You got the brains in this family.”
“What if I trip when I’m walking across the stage?”
“You aren’t going to trip, Carly. Just relax. It’s not like you’re going to be up in front of your millions of iCarly fans. It’s just your class, your friends, your family and random people. You’ll be fine. Now eat your pancakes before they get cold.
She’d always been afraid of new things. He’d had a lot of practice helping her adjust.
“I don’t want my training wheels off. I’m gonna fall.” Carly whined. Spencer sighed.
“Carly, you aren’t going to fall. I’ll be right here.” He reassured her. She looked at her bike while Spencer took the two extra wheels off. She was terrified of getting hurt or embarrassing herself in front of her friends.
“Come on, Carly. You can do it.” Freddie was standing in the road next to Sam. Both had already learned how to ride their bikes and Carly didn’t want to keep them waiting every time they went out to ride.
“Yeah and if you fall we promise we won’t laugh,” Sam added. It didn’t make Carly feel any better. Spencer stood up, dropping the training wheels a few feet away. Carly stared at him.
“Okay buttercup, let’s go,” he put her helmet on her head and tightened the strap.
“I’m scared.” Her brown eyes connected with his and he suddenly felt bad for the six year old. It wasn’t his idea to take the training wheels off.
“Just relax, Carly. It will be fine. I’ll be right next to you okay? Think about when mommy and daddy get home and you can show them you learned how to ride a bike all by yourself.”
“Promise you won’t let me fall?”
“I promise.” He held the bike with one hand and she took a deep breath before climbing onto the seat. Freddie and Sam were waiting on the sidewalk, ready to cheer her on.
“Ready kid?” Spencer asked. Carly nodded and he pushed the bike a bit. The bike tipped a bit and Spencer stopped it before it fell over. Carly let out a huff.
“I don’t wanna learn how to ride a bike.” If her friends weren’t standing on the sidewalk she would have cried, but she didn’t want to look like a baby.
“Carly, nobody gets it on the first try. Come on. You can do it. I told you I wouldn’t let you fall and I’m not going to let you fall. Just keep your handlebars straight.” She took another deep breath as he pushed the bike again, giving her a head start to start peddling. She got her feet on the peddles and the bike started tipping again.
“Turn your handlebars, Carly.” She tried and failed. Spencer barely caught her before she hit the ground.
“I can’t do it.” She cried.
“Yes you can, Carly. You’re smart. You’ll get it. Now come on. There’s no reason to cry. You’ll get this.” He put the bike back up and Carly stared at it.
“It’s so hard.”
“I know. But you’ll be so happy when you can go out with your friends and ride your bike around.” She sat on her bike again and Spencer gave it another push. She was determined to get this and as she peddled down the sidewalk he could see her smiling. She was quick. He had fallen at least fifteen times before he got it.
“Spence? I’m going to take a shower.” She stood up from the table and brought her plate to the sink. It was 11:00 in the morning and graduation started in two hours.
“Okay, but hurry up. There’s a lot to do before we leave.” His words landed on deaf ears. He should be used to this.
“Carly, what are you doing in there? It’s bedtime.” He was banging on the door. Carly was supposed to be taking a bath before bed. She was old enough to do it herself now, but Spencer knew leaving Carly in the bathroom by herself with a bunch of toys was a mistake. His parents didn’t seem to agree. He heard her giggle.
“Carly, come on. It’s time for bed. Let’s go!” she obviously wasn’t going to listen to him. His dad walked around the corner.
“What are you doing?”
“She’s in there playing and I need to take a shower for my date.”
“Spencer, she’ll be out when she’s done.”
“She’s been in there for 45 minutes, dad.” His dad looked at him and then at the door. He stepped in front of the door and knocked on it.
“Carly, come on. It’s time for bed. Spencer needs the bathroom.”
“Who locked the door?” Spencer groaned.
“Probably your little sister.” Spencer rolled his eyes and his father knocked on the door again.
“Carly you come out right now or we won’t go to the park with Freddie and Mrs. Benson tomorrow.” They heard the sound of water moving and little feet running to the door. It clicked and Mr. Shay opened it.
“Come on, wrap yourself up. Let’s get you ready for bed.”
“But daddy, I don’t wanna go to bed.”
“Little girls need bed times, Carly. Now come on. Spencer, you wanna drain the tub for me?” Mr. Shay wrapped Carly up in a towel and picked her up, carrying her out of the bathroom. Spencer sighed, walking over to the bathtub. The water looked funny.
“Dad! I think Carly peed in the bath!”
The door slammed and his memory was interrupted by Sam. She had a bag with her.
“Sam, did you bring your cap and gown over here in a bag? It’s going to get all wrinkly.”
“Eh, who cares? Not like my mom’s coming anyway.” Spencer snatched the bag from her and took the gown out, using a hanger from the closet to hang it up.
“Carly’s in the shower.”
“When isn’t she in the shower?” she sat on the couch and put her feet up on the table. Freddie was next to enter.
“I can’t stay over there anymore. My mom’s going nuts.” He locked the door behind him and sat next to Sam on the couch. He took her hand and she laughed.
“When isn’t your mom going nuts?”
“When there’s no chance of us seeing each other,” he smirked. Sam rolled her eyes and Carly came out of the bathroom in a robe, drying her hair.
“Oh, hey guys. I’ll be down in a minute.” She ran upstairs and Sam and Freddie laughed.
Carly was looking at him expectantly, eager to get to the high school and walk across the stage. Where had the time gone?
“Is it time to go yet?”
“Soon, Carly.” Too soon. When she walked across that stage it was like her walking away from childhood and entering the adult world. The last 18 years had flown by and Spencer couldn’t believe the little girl he would have given the world for was taking the world by storm.
“Spence? You okay?” he faked a smile and nodded but didn’t speak; he didn’t trust that the emotions overwhelming him wouldn’t rush to the surface at the first word he uttered. He wanted her to be happy today, not worrying about her weepy big brother.
“I’m all good.”
“I wish mom was here to see this,” she sighed. She had the same look on her face as she did the day their mother had died. He had stayed up day and night with her, trying to make her feel better.
“Mommy’s always here, Carly.” It was 2:00 in the morning and Carly was wide awake. Spencer wrapped her up in his arms. She had only had seven short years with her. Very short years.
“I miss her, I want her back. Why is she gone? Where did she go?” it seemed like the tears never stopped. Every time Spencer saw her she was crying.
“Carly,” he didn’t know what to tell her. He wanted to tell her that their mom would be coming back any minute but reality had hit hard in the Shay household. The simple trip to the store was no longer simple. She wouldn’t be walking back through that door again, “you know how daddy’s always saying everyone has a guardian angel? Well, God couldn’t find any angel good enough for you except for mommy, so he had to borrow her to protect you the rest of your life. She’s wherever you are, buttercup. And you can talk to her whenever you want to.” Carly sniffled and looked at her brother.
“How?” a simple, one-worded question was more complicated than it had ever been. Spencer sighed.
“You just talk. She can hear you. You may not hear her voice but she’ll always answer you. All you have to do is look around.”
“Do you miss mommy?”
“Of course I miss mommy. Every day. But I know she’s not really gone, sweetheart. She’s just away right now. We’ll see her again.” He kissed her forehead and stood up.
“Huh? Oh. Yeah?”
“Let’s go.” Carly was motioning to the door and Spencer sighed.
“Alright,” he grabbed the keys off the table, “Wait, Carly. Come here.” Carly rolled her eyes.
“You look beautiful.”
“Thanks. Can I go now? Sam and Freddie are waiting.”
“Just wait, the dance doesn’t start for another two hours. I want to take some pictures so dad can see them.”
“Spencer, I’m going to be late.”
“No you’re not. Come on, against the wall.” She groaned but faced her back to the wall and faked a smile.
“Come on, Carly. It’s your first dance.”
“Yeah that I’m going to be late for,”
“You aren’t going to be late.”
“Come on, Spencer, that’s enough pictures. Can I PLEASE leave?”
“Fine,” he set the camera down, “come here.”
“Carly.” She walked to him and hugged him. “Have fun, kid. I love you. Be home by ten.”
“I love you, too.”
“Your caps on crooked.” He adjusted it and she laughed.
“Sam.” She said simply. Spencer smiled and she smiled back.
“Alright, kid. You sure you’re ready for this? I can have them hold you back another year…or maybe 12.” Carly nodded.
“I’m ready. Let’s go.” She was anxious to get to the school. She didn’t understand just how much she was leaving behind. Spencer followed her out the door and shut it behind him.
“One picture, Carly, before we leave.” Carly sighed, but turned around with Freddie and Sam.
“Alright, say cheese.” The hallway echoed with the sound of their voices. Mrs. Benson made her way out of the apartment, tissues in hand and already sobbing.
“I can’t believe my little Freddie is all grown up,” she put her hands on his face and tried to kiss his cheek.
“Mom!” he pushed her away and Sam and Carly started laughing. Spencer took another picture before they could notice.
“Alright, can we go now?” Sam asked. She hated just standing around. Carly laughed. Spencer followed the three teenagers to the elevator. He could hear Mrs. Benson sobbing behind him.
The way Mrs. Benson was crying you’d think they were being shipped off overseas.
“Freddie,” she hiccupped, “make sure you sanitize your desk and chair before you sit down. Always wash your hands and don’t—“
“Mom!” Freddie’s face turned bright red and Carly tried to stifle her laughter. Sam, on the other hand, didn’t care if anybody heard her.
“Little boys who—“
“Mooooooooooom,” he whined, then he lowered his voice, “you’re embarrassing me.” He mumbled. Mrs. Benson shook her head before looking at Spencer.
“Well, aren’t you going to say something to Carly?”
“Like what? She’s 11 years old. I think she knows how to go to school.” Mrs. Benson shot him an evil look before breaking down into tears again. “My son’s going to be friends with delinquents.” She cried. Spencer stared at her and then rolled his eyes.
“Uhhh….alright…ummm stay in school. Don’t do drugs. Eat your vegetables. Don’t take candy from strangers--” Carly laughed.
“Okay Spencer. I got it.” She hugged him.
“Have fun at school buttercup,”
“Ugh, don’t call me that.” She groaned.
“Ugh, fine.” He mocked her.
“Spencer, let’s go. Unless you wanna take the stairs.” Carly as holding her arm in front of the elevator door. Spencer sighed, giving her a smile before stepping into the elevator.
“Oh my God! I think it’s stuck! SPENCER!” she was freaking out. Spencer laughed.
“Relax, Carly. It’s not like you can die in here.”
“Spencer!” he had forgotten about her claustrophobia.
“Okay, okay. Relax. Just press that button.” He pointed to the lowest button and Carly slammed her finger into it six times before he grabbed her wrist.
“Okay, Carly. Chill out with the button pushing.”
“I can’t breathe!” she started pounding on the walls.
“That isn’t going to make the elevator move.”
It was as if she hadn’t heard him, “HELP! OH MY GOD! OPEN THE DOOR!”
“Carly, quit screaming!” she put her hands on his arms and squeezed. Her eyes were crazy.
“Get me out of here!”
“Spence. Are you sure you’re okay? You’ve been acting weird all morning.” Carly’s eyes were trying to dig into his soul and he didn’t want to give away just how bittersweet this day felt to him.
“Huh? Oh yeah. I’m fine. Let’s go.” He put his arm around her shoulders and they walked out the front door of the apartment building.
“No! It can’t rain today,” she was looking up at the sky, “it’s supposed to be nice today! The weatherman said it was going to be sunny!” she covered her face with her hands and groaned.
“The sun shines when you smile,” Spencer mumbled. Carly turned around and gave him a puzzled look.
“Where have I heard that before?” she asked. Spencer smiled.
“Mom used to say it to you all the time.” He informed her. She looked back at the sky, a smile forming on her face.
“I remember that.”
“Yup. You used to wake up really early and ask her when the sun would come out. It always came out when you smiled,” he pointed up to the sky where the clouds were breaking apart, “like magic.” Carly stared up at the sky, her smile growing.
“Alright kid, let’s go. We don’t have any time to waste.” She turned to look at him and then got into the car.
His master plan was complete and she was locked in the car. He prepared himself with his two cans of silly string. How she expected to fill his bed with water balloons and not expect revenge was beyond him, but he would take it easy on her. Ha. No he wouldn’t. He waited until she turned away from the window to sneak up to the car. He threw the door open and she whipped around.
“What the—oh, Spencer. I thought you were—“ he aimed the first can at her and pressed the button down. A fury of pink string shot out of the front and Carly threw her hands up in front of her face, “SPENCER!”
Spencer laughed and grabbed the other can from his back pocket. Carly backed further into the car as he added the mess of green silly string to the pink. Despite her anger at being tricked a laugh slipped out of her mouth.
“Spencer! Quit!” her laughter grew as she reached for the handle on the door she was leaning against. Spencer had planned for this and that door was locked. He had her cornered.
“Say I’m better at pranking,” he said, releasing his fingers from the buttons. She shook her head.
“No way,” she laughed. Spencer pressed the buttons again and she threw her hands up once more.
“No! I’ll get you back Spencer! You have to run out of silly string at some point.”
“I’ve got this car stock piled.” He laughed. He really didn’t, but she didn’t need to know that.
“Okay! You’re better at pranking!” he removed his fingers from the buttons again and backed out of the car. Carly followed him.
“Oh here, I missed a spot.” He sprayed the rest of the pink silly string on her head and she ran from him into the lobby of Bushwell Plaza.
“NONE OF THAT STRINGY STUFF IN MY LOBBY!”
“Spencer! Let’s GO!” Sam was sticking her head out the window. Spencer sighed, getting into the driver’s seat and starting the car. Maybe there would be a traffic jam and they wouldn’t make it to graduation. Did they hold you back if you didn’t go to graduation? Probably not.
He’d driven Carly to school a lot in the seven years but it never felt as short as it did now. It was like one second they were in front of Bushwell Plaza and the next he was circling the parking lot, trying to find the space furthest from the school. He wasn’t ready to let his little sister go to conquer the world without him.
“Just park already, mama’s ready to get this chizz over with.” Spencer parked the car and Sam all but threw herself out of the car, dragging Freddie with her.
“Jeez Sam, relax. Graduation isn’t going to start any sooner just because you walk in.”
“It will if they know what’s good for them.” She dragged him to the doors and he threw an apologetic look over his shoulder to his mom, Spencer and Carly. Mrs. Benson straightened up and walked with purpose to the doors. She was determined to get through the ceremony without crying. She lasted about two minutes. Spencer stopped Carly before she walked away.
“Carly, wait a second.”
“I have to go line up.”
“Just a second,” he grabbed her hand before he reached into his pocket to pull out a silver, diamond embedded heart charm attached to a chain bracelet that used to belong to their mother. He wasn’t sure if she’d remember seeing it before, but when she was away from home 3,000 miles away the small reminder would hopefully be a huge comfort to her when she was feeling distressed. He placed it in her hand and she looked at it and then back at him.
“It was moms. She was wearing it when you were born. Oh, and,” he reached into his pocket once more and pulled out their fathers dog tags, “now they’re both here with you and when you leave for college you’ll never feel alone.”
“What about you?”
“What about me?”
“Are you going to feel alone?” he hesitated, then smiled.
“Never. This is what I did it for. I knew what I was getting into when dad asked me to take care of you.” Except for feeling his heart breaking as he was about to watch his only little sister leave the security of the apartment to move onto bigger and better things. Things that required her attention across the country. She hugged him.
“I love you, Spencer.” He sighed.
“I love you, too, Carly.” She backed away.
“Time to shine,” she smiled.
“You always shine,” he looked towards the school, “let’s go. I’ll see you when you’re walking across that stage.”
“Okay,” she ran off towards the school and Spencer took his time walking to the front doors.
Less than 30 minutes.
The time flew by faster than he would have liked it to and suddenly he was watching as teenager after teenager walked across that stage and Carly got closer to it.
“Carly Elizabeth Shay, daughter of Colonel Steven Shay and the late Elizabeth Shay.”
‘Please don’t fall.’ Carly took a deep breath and then made her way to her principal. He smiled at her, shaking her hand and handing her the blue book that would hold the reward for finishing high school. The thirty seconds she was on stage felt like an eternity and as she walked down the stairs at the end she looked over to Spencer sitting in the third to last row in the third to last seat. Carly had always had a superstition about the number three.
‘Thank you,’ she mouthed, though she had nothing to thank him for. He’d do it a million times over again if he had to. He’d endure the painful lessons of growing up and being responsible for someone else again if it meant he could feel as satisfied as he did now. Watching her sit in her seat, staring down at that little blue book in her lap was all the thanks he’d ever need.
The car was all packed up for her to go. Unlike most people, Carly wanted to spend the summer taking a road trip on her way to NYU instead of bumming around, enjoying the nice weather and just being excited about being out of high school. Carly had never been normal.
“Well kid,” he couldn’t find the words to say that would make it any easier to let her go, especially when he could see the hesitation in her face.
“Are you sure you’re going to be okay?” Spencer nodded, knowing she really just wanted an excuse to stay in Seattle. If he was selfish he would tell her to stay, but she needed to venture off and be her own person.
“I think the better question is are you going to be okay?” Carly looked down at the ground and took a shaky breath.
“I don’t know.” She whispered. Spencer wrapped his arms around her as the tears started rolling down her cheeks. He kissed the top of her head. They stood that way for a while, neither wanting to let the moment slip through their fingers. Maybe it was the distance that made him feel like she was moving to a completely different planet. She backed away from him, wiping her eyes. Spencer smiled.
“Well, I better go.” She fidgeted with the keys in her hand before walking over to the driver’s side door. Spencer leaned against the car, folding his hands on the top. Carly looked at him, door half open.
“Door’s always open if you want to come back,” he told her. She nodded.
“Drive safe, call me whenever you stop. Don’t pick up hitch-hikers. Always lock your doors whether you’re home or not. Don’t let strangers into your apartment. And please, for the love of God Carly, don’t turn into one of those party girls.” Carly laughed.
“Okay,” she reached into her pocket, pulling out an envelope with Spencer’s name on it, and set it on top of the car. Spencer grabbed it before it could blow away and shot her a questioning look, “don’t look at it until I leave. I love you, Spencer. I’ll call you when I get to the hotel.” He stared at the envelope in his hand and then looked back at her.
“I love you too, buttercup.” She smiled. He backed away from the car, watching as she put her seatbelt on, started it and drove away. She glanced back one last time and waved. He waved back and as her car disappeared into the distance the hollowness in his stomach grew.
Usually I’m pretty straight forward and just tell people how I feel, but somehow it’s much more difficult knowing that I’m moving away across the country and leaving behind everything I know. So, this is how I opted to thank you.
I know you always tell me I have nothing to thank you for but I do. You did something for me that I don’t think a lot of other people would have. You aren’t my dad, but you raised me. You didn’t have to do it, but you did. Even when I was a pain in the ass and when I was going through ‘a new boyfriend every week’ phase (which I may still be going through) and when you could have been out having a life but you were home with me.. I couldn’t have asked for a better big brother and best friend. You’ve given up everything for me and I appreciate that more than you know. It wasn’t your job, despite what you think, but you did it well.
Even when granddad wanted to take me to Yakima you fought for me. You said all the things my 13 year old mind couldn’t come up with. I don’t think I fully grasped the whole ‘I’m taking you with me’ concept back then. Now that I’m willingly moving away I get how much I could have missed out on if he had made me go. I’m so glad I got to stay with you the last five years instead of growing up in Yakima.
Anyway, I should probably get to the point. I appreciate everything you’ve done for me, and as soon as I get to my place I’ll write you a letter, send you pictures, whatever you want. You’re the best, Spencer.
I love you.
P.S. I know you packed my inhaler in here. I saw you do it. But it’s a small comfort so many miles away.