CHRIS IS THE FIRST TO
leave. she comes by the house that week and says, âI canât go to your dadâs wedding this weekend. Iâm leaving for the Dominican Republic tomorrow.â
âI know. Iâm sorry.â Chris doesnât look the least bit sorry; she has a huge grin on her face. âItâs so crazy. A spot opened up for me at an eco-hotel, and thereâs no way I can pass this up. They speak Spanish in the Dominican Republic, too, right?â
âYes. But I thought you were going to Costa Rica!â
Shrugging, she says, âThis other opportunity came up so I pounced on it.â
âButâI canât believe youâre leaving so soon! You werenât supposed to leave until August. When do you come back?â
âI donât know. . . . I guess thatâs the beauty of it. I could stay for six months, or something else will come up and Iâll go there.â
I blink. âSo youâre leaving for good, then?â
. Just for now.â
Something inside of me knows that this really is for good. I donât see Chris coming back here a year from now
to go to Piedmont Virginia Community College. This is Chris, the stray cat, who comes and goes as she pleases. Sheâll always land on her cat tippy-toes.
âDonât look so sad. Youâll be fine without me. You have Kavinsky.â For a second I canât breathe. Just hearing his name is like a dagger in my heart. âAnyway weâre all leaving soon enough. Iâm just glad Iâm not going to be left behind.â
Thatâs how it would feel to herâstaying here, going to a community college, working at Applebeeâs. I feel a surge of gladness that instead of that, sheâs off on an adventure. âI just canât believe youâre leaving so soon.â I donât tell her that Peter and I broke up, that I donât have him anymore. Today isnât about me and Peter; itâs about Chris, and her exciting new future. âCan I at least come help you pack?â
âIâm already packed! Iâm only bringing the essentials. My leather jacket, bikinis, a few crystals.â
âShouldnât you bring sneakers and work gloves and that kind of thing, just in case?â
âIâll wear sneakers on the plane, and whatever else I need, Iâll get when Iâm there. Thatâs the whole point of an adventure. Pack light and figure the rest out as you go.â
I thought weâd have more time, me and Chris in my bedroom, sharing secrets late into the night, eating chips in bed. I wanted to cement our friendship before she left: Lara Jean and Chrissy, like the old days.
Itâs all ending.