That following November, the Carters packed up their lives into brown moving boxes and bid their cherished friends farewell.
The three friends, amidst tears and sniffles, repeated the vows made months before, promising to write every day, to never forget. As the moving truck pulled away, with the Carter’s minivan following suit, Tommy and Andy raced after them, waving frantically and calling out to Nick, who had stuck his head out the window, waving and hollering back at his best friends.
As promised, the letters started coming and going, as many as three a day, except Sundays, when the mailman didn’t show up. Andy and Tommy were happy to receive news from their friend, as was Nick, who was always longing to hear about what went on in the neighborhood.
Tommy told him about the family that moved into his old house, how they had no little kids their age, but teenagers. One of the boys teased Andy and Tommy restlessly about being boyfriend and girlfriend, until one day Andy kicked him “right where it hurts most,” as Tommy put it. Andy claimed proudly that it was a trick her sister had taught her before leaving for college.
Nick soon began telling them of his new neighborhood, of the new friends he had made, and what they all did after school. He was really getting into singing and being in plays, and he always seemed very excited about it all in his letters.
Which were getting scarcer as the months went by. What was once a two-letters-a-day-thing soon became a three-letters-a-week-thing, and after about six months, it was reduced to a letter a week.
One every other week, for a substantial amount of time, with very little detail from Nick’s part. Then once a month, with only a few words of greeting plus a paragraph or two of how the rest of the Carter clan was. Until one day, three years after Nick’s departure, after the mailman had made his rounds and Tommy and Andy both ran to their mailboxes, they found nothing. From down the street, Tommy saw Andy look at him with the same feelings of hurt that were going through him, and they knew it was finally over.
The seasons had changed many times, and they knew they had been forgotten. They always heard that people changed as time went by, but they never expected it to hit so close to home. Nevertheless, the two remaining friends vowed to keep their promises intact, at least to each other.
[chapter list | chapter four]