My gaze creeps over to the other two envelopes and suddenly I’m filled with dread. Oh God. There’s no way. She wouldn’t … but what if she would? I have to draw the line somewhere.
I pick up the next envelope as if it were the tip of a rattlesnake’s tail and open it.
Are you totally pumped for your adventures? The next one isn’t as glamourous as world travel, but it’s important to me. It’s something we always talked about doing. I want you to go to my hometown and go to that little ice cream shop I loved as a kid. It doesn’t sound like much, but trust me, you won’t be sorry. You’ve never had ice cream like it before. It reminds me of a time when everything was right with the world.
That’s all for the big adventures. I promise. Please don’t read on. I swear the last envelope won’t rip you from your routine or put you out in any way. I just need you to wait until later to read it. Have fun on your adventures. I will be there with you in spirit.
I slump against my chair. Thank God. No extreme sports or anything that will put me in danger. Her hometown isn’t that far away. It seems like a strange destination after Peru and Scotland, but she had her reasons and I’m sure I’ll find out what they are in the last envelope.
I put the box of envelopes away, leaving the last one untouched like she asked.
I think about all the traveling I’m about to do and I try to be happy about it. She should be here with me, going to these places we dreamed of. It’s not fair. I’m drunk, and mad, and want to break things. I decide to go to the gym, burn off the booze and the heartbreak.
After getting home from the gym, I feel much better. I decide to call Kia’s mom and make arrangements for my trips. We end up talking the rest of the night about all the things Kia and I used to do when I slept over at their house. Sometimes it felt like I lived there. It’s where I spent most of my childhood. My own mom wasn’t exactly what you would call mother of the year. She was more than happy to let me stay at Kia’s to get me out of her hair.
Kia’s mom tells me about how Kia’s and my constant laughter used to drive her crazy, and sometimes she’d have to make us go downstairs so she could get some sleep. We laugh and reminisce for hours. I tell her about the envelopes and she tells me she was there when Kia wrote them. I can barely keep my eyes open by the time we hang up.
The next morning, I check my bank account and see a lot more money than I was expecting. How long had she been saving up? It must’ve been her entire life. Maybe her mom added to the pot, I don’t know. There’s no point in speculating. It’s there and it’s more than enough to take me on these trips.
There’s a lot to do in preparation. First, I call work and talk to my manager. She tells me to take the time off without even hesitating. I tell her what my plans are, and about Kia’s bucket list. The only thing she asks from me is to keep in touch so she knows I’m safe and to take a ton of pictures so all the girls at work can live vicariously through me. I agree to do just that. It’s going to be weird with all this time to myself. I’m such a workaholic.
After Kia passed, I never took any time off to grieve. Instead I threw myself into my work to keep distracted from all the emotions I wasn’t ready to deal with yet. I still don’t know if I’m ready to deal with them. But having all this time to myself will probably force those emotions to the forefront of my mind. Who knows, maybe this was Kia’s grand scheme, dragging me on an Eat, Pray, Love adventure in order for me to cope with her passing. If that’s the case, I hope it works.
Next, if I go hiking in Peru, I need new hiking boots and a backpack to carry my stuff. I’m excited to go and a little sad. I’ve decided I’m not going to tell Max about the trips. It’s better just to rip this band aid off. Out of sight, out of mind, right? I can’t bring myself to face him. I know if I do, I’ll want to stay with him, or ask him to go with me, and I can’t do either of those things right now. I can’t push my emotional baggage onto him and ask him to set everything aside so I can live out my best friend’s last wishes. It’s not fair.