Every morning, Boots’s last stop on his run was the campus post office. There wasn't something for him every day, but he was there often enough that Alice, the ancient woman who ran the window, knew his name.
"Morning, Melvin," she greeted him.
"Please stop calling me that," Boots begged, doubled over and wiping the sweat from his eyes. "I've told you a million times, no one calls me Melvin."
"Melvin," Alice continued as though she hadn't heard him, and maybe she hadn't because she was like two-hundred years old, "you get more real letters than anyone else at this school. It's nice that the art of letter-writing isn't completely dead with you young people."
Boots shot her a tired smile because he'd just run for an hour and also because she told him this every day, and jogged over to his little mailbox. When he noticed it wasn't empty, his heart fluttered in anticipation.
The postmark said Victoria, all the way across the country. When they picked schools separated by a continental stretch of land, Bruno had made Boots promise that they'd write actual, real letters, at least twice weekly, and Boots agreed because the promise of getting something tangible from Bruno all the time was a heady one. Sure, it wasn't Bruno’s mouth or his hands or the look on his face when he was hatching a wonderful, terrible plan, but it was still something.
With shaking hands, Boots tore open the envelope:
Did you run all the way over here just for this? it read. Nerd.
"That motherfucker," Boots swore under his breath.
"You kiss your mother with that mouth?" asked a familiar voice.
Boots froze, looked up, and slowly turned around. And no, it wasn't a figment of his imagination; Bruno was there, in the flesh, for real, and grinning like the cat that caught the canary.
"Surprise," Bruno said, spreading his arms open wide. "Didja like my letter?"
I'll give you a surprise, Boots thought, as he leapt forward and tackled Bruno to the post office floor.