Ben got Helen's letter. His hand started shaking when he saw the name, Jimmy.
|Ben read Helen's letter. He lit up a cigarette and walked on to the balcony. |
It's been a while. Ben almost could not remember what Jimmy looks like anymore.
They were all just kids. Helen wanted to play hide and seek. Ben said it would be more fun if they played in the woods. There were few other kids, Ben doesn't remember what their names are. They all went.
Winter nights got dark real fast. They were still in the middle of the game. Helen was "it". She just started counting. Ben already found a place to hide but the bush was not big enough for two kids. Jimmy looked like a lamb that's just about to be slain. Ben told him about a spot he discovered the other day, just behind the old pine tree. Jimmy said, "thank you" and ran towards the spot.
Ben still remembers the twinkle in his eyes when he said that. He doesn't deserve that "thank you".
Helen found Jimmy. Jimmy's face was covered with blood. The cops said Jimmy tripped on the root, hit his head on the trunk. It was an accident. Helen fainted.
Helen woke up in a hospital. She didn't have any recollection of what happened. She remembered Jimmy and Ben were over at her place, having lemonade. She asked Ben where Jimmy was. Ben looked at her, his lips moved but nothing came out. She looked over to her parents. They had tears in their eyes, but they would not say a thing.
Ben wanted to tell her. But every time he looked at her, her eyes would fill up with hope.
Jimmy's family moved out of town shortly after, just before Helen got released from the hospital. Ben told her Jimmy had to move away because his dad got a new job in a different city so they had to go.
Helen was upset. She didn't have a chance to say goodbye. She had to hear the bad news from someone else.
Helen was mad at Jimmy for the longest time. But as time go by, they talked about him less and less.
But Helen saw him the other day. In that busy city where she's by herself. Ben's hands started shaking. He wanted to settle down but it looks like that's not gonna happen any time soon now.