I stared down at the black dirt covering him. The black dirt covering the last remains of the guy I knew. The guy I love. The guy I wanted to know better. Sometimes I try to forget, and other times I try to remember. It’s easier to remember, because your first love is hard to forget.
His face was perfect, sitting across from me. His brown eyes gleamed, his smile glowing.
“Hannah,” he said, “What’s your story?”
We had been dating for three months now, exactly. We were sitting at The Backstreet Cafe, at the exact table he had asked me out at. The one with the stars.
Each table at The Backstreet had a different design on the tabletop. Some were flowers, some food, some art. The one with the stars was the only table with a design from space.
“I don’t know Finn...” I say, stirring my hot chocolate.
“I’ve got time.” He says, leaning back in his chair. “Plenty of time.”
So I started. Over one cup of hot chocolate I told him half the story. We ordered a second cup and I begun the second half. Here is what I said:
“The town I was born in was the white-picket fence, minivan in every driveway, stay at home mom kind of neighborhood. It was perfect.
“My family was different though. My mom sewed my clothes, and worked everyday. My dad was an author, so he stayed at home with my sister and I. My older sister went to the high school in town instead of boarding school, and got caught up in alcohol and drugs. She ended up almost killing herself, but I told her that she could never leave me, and she realized what she had been doing to herself. So, she got help.” Finn’s eyes were soft. Sorry.
“That’s when we moved. She was a sophomore, I was going into middle school. My parents didn’t like the other people in our town, my sister was the only one with friends, and they weren’t any good, so we moved.” A breeze tickled my skin, and I pulled my jacket tighter around myself.
“The minute our car hit the boundaries around Crestview, WA, I knew I was home. For one, the music on the radio was better,” Finn laughed at that, “and two, the grass wasn’t all green. Thirdly, I saw my parents smiling. That was the first of many.”
“Your parents didn’t smile?” He asked, a bit surprised I could tell.
“I can’t remember any smiles until then. Only half-grins.” I replied truthfully. My parents were different than most. Not that open and excited. More like sealed boxes.
“They’re always smiling when I see them.”
“They like you.” I say shrugging.
“For obvious reasons.” We laugh, and my heart swells. He is so perfect.
“Why did you pick me?” I ask. I had wanted to know for a long time. Three months exactly.
“You’ll have to wait and see.” He says, smirking.
“One hint?” I beg.
He smiles and pushes a lock of hair behind one on my ears. “You are Hannah Thomas, the Hannah Thomas I love.”
“I love you too.” I say, and hold his hand in mine. He was surprised for some reason.
“Always have, always will.” That made him smile even bigger. He leaned across the starry table.
“I love you Hannah Thomas,” he says, and kisses me.
We kissed above the stars.
When Finn dropped me off that night, he whispered something in my ear I didn’t think would ever matter:
“Hayford Avenue, WA.” He whispered, and drove off. The next day, he told me it was nothing. It was much more than nothing.
Those are the words I requested for his headstone. “Much more than nothing.”
To everyone, Finn was nice, outgoing, polite, and smart. When he started dating me, everyone looked at him differently. He never broke up with me. He just left me. Alone.
I was the girl that no one knows where she belongs. I’m pretty enough to be popular, smart enough to be nerd, and sporty enough to be a jock. Instead, I chose to be an outcast of sorts, and then Finn Owen’s Girlfriend. I wear vintage clothes and combat boots. I either wear my hair in a braid or down, with a brown beany on top. The only jewelery I ever wear is the necklace Finn gave me that day at The Backstreet. It says, “Hannah, my love.” That’s what I said when Finn asked me my name. Don’t ask why. I don’t even know. Maybe it was meant to be.
My fingers clasp around the heart, engraved with my name on the front, Finn’s on the back. I like it that way. He was always close to my heart.
I can see my sister walking towards me out of the corner of my eye. “Go away Kara.” I say, just loud enough for only her to hear.
She nods, understanding, and turns back towards my parents, shaking her head. They wave, and then leave. They know I’ll be home. Eventually.
I find the letter in my jacket pocket and pull it out. Finn’s handwriting. Him writing my name. Hannah. Then the words below that, Read when you’re alone. I was alone when the letter arrived on my doorstep. I wanted to wait until now though.
I’m sorry. I’m sorry I left. I had to. Don’t worry, it wasn’t you. It never was. You are the only reason I would have stayed. Just to smell your hair one more time. Watch the way you smile. Twirl my finger through your hair. To kiss you, one more time. I would give anything for that.
Remember at The Backstreet when I told you, “You’ll have to wait and see?” Well, now you are going to know, and you’ll know my story too. We’ll be even.
“We’ll never be even Finn,” I say out loud. “You’re dead.”
Hannah, I love you. More than anything in the entire world.
I’m crying by now.
I want you to know why I left, why I loved you, and who I am. No one else needs to know. Only you. Hannah, my love.
Han, every second I had with you, I will remember forever. Every time you said my name. Every time you pulled my hair. Every time you tried to drill Calculus into my head. Every time we kissed. Every time you smiled. Every time we sat at the Starry table at The Backstreet. You’re the only thing that mattered these amazing months. I wish it could have been a lifetime. Maybe it will be.
It never will. You’re dead. Remember?
Hannah, I never want you to think I left because of you. I didn’t. I left for a reason you will soon discover. Just promise me-
You’ll always remember me.
Always. I promise.
Go to this address: 1774 W. 7th Street, Somerville, WA. Tell them your name. Show them what I gave you. Your treasure hunt starts there.
I love you Hannah Thomas. Forever and always.
Finn.I love you too Finn. Forever and always.
I read back over the letter searching for the address. 1774 W. 7th Street, Somerville WA. I typed the address into Google Maps on my phone and waited for the map. Where was Somerville? The middle of nowhere? The map had loaded, and I groaned when I saw the distance. 112 miles. Fantastic. Nowhere-land.
When I walked in the door of my house, I saw my sister in front of the TV, still in her black dress. My parents were in the kitchen, both changed into normal clothes.
“Hannah? that you?” I hear my mom call.
“Yeah. I’m going upstairs.” I reply, taking the stairs two at a time.
“Let me know if you need anything!”
“I don’t.” I say, and shut the bedroom door behind me.
A box was sitting on my bed. Brown, tied with a silver ribbon. It hadn’t been there before the funeral. I walked over to it and sat down on my bed. It was in his handwriting.
I tore open the box, not worried about what could be inside. I just wanted to see his handwriting one more time. It was another letter. It looked like it had been written recently. White copy paper. Black ink that hadn’t quite set.
I reached my hand inside, pulling the letter away from the cardboard box. It was typed.Hannah--
You probably think I keep on appearing.
No. Not really.
This isn’t a love letter.
It’s a map. See you soon.
I looked down and saw a map.
Well, now I know where I’m going. I just had to figure out how I was going to get there. Could Kara help me? Probably, but she would ask too many questions. I could always just tell everyone I was going to Shemerson... That’s probably my best bet.
I started packing. Both letters, the map, my computer, phone, charger, sweater, a change of clothes, my boots, and a toothbrush. I stuffed $200, a blanket and a flashlight in too. I have no idea where these places will be.
“Dad?” I asked, stepping in to the study down the hall. He was most likely to say yes.
“What Hannah?” He sounded tired, but soft.
“Can I go to Shemerson?”
He stared at me. “Why in the world would you want to go to Shemerson?”
“To get away from people who knew him. Be somewhere else.” It made sense in my head. It was almost nice sounding.
“Hannah...” He didn’t sound convinced.
“Please Daddy?” I beg.
He studied my expression, and then replied, “I’m okay with it, and your mother won’t mind. Do you need money?” He was fishing out his wallet.
“I’ve got 200. Will I need more?”
“How long will you be there?”
“I don’t know,” I replied truthfully.
“Take your card. I’ll cover the difference.” I’m surprised. Usually the card is only for emergencies.
“Positive. Take whichever car.” He seemed... Understanding.
“Thanks Daddy.” I kiss his cheek and leave, content.
“Call!” He shouts from behind me.
“I will!” I won’t.
The highway to Somerville wasn’t highly populated. I turned on the local rock station, trying to find something not sappy-love-song. I sighed. It would be a long car ride to who knows what.
I passed the city limits at 9 pm. Population 505. One thought kept popping into my head. “Why did you send me here Finn?” I asked out loud, gazing around at the shops and cafes. I hit Broadway and turned right, following Google Maps.
The lights were on, but no one was out. Only a few cafes and the General Store were open. Back home, every shop was open until at least 10. The moon is half full, and the wind is still. I rolled down the windows of the black Jeep, the least noticeable of my options. I didn’t exactly want to show in a tiny town with our Orange Corvette.
The first stop was a little cafe called Shells and Sand. It had a beachy feel, even though we were miles from the ocean and in the middle of Washington, home to rain.
“Coffee please.” I requested stepping up to the counter. “Black.” This was Finn’s thing. I followed in suit.
“Do you need anything sweetheart?” The barista asked, turning around to make my coffee, apparently noticing my need for something other than black coffee at 9 at night.
“I’m Hannah Thomas?” I say, hoping I’m in the right place. Otherwise I would sound like an insane weirdo. “Finn gave me this?” I unclasp the necklace and it glints in the florescent lighting.
“Oh.” She turns off the coffeemaker and faces me. “I’m Becky. Now, how do you know Finn?” She refers to him in the present. Not past.
“I’m his...” Ex-girlfriend? “Girlfriend.” I decide on.
“All right them. Follow me.” She leads me down a flight of stairs into a storage room. In the back left corner, a brass box sits, locked with a heart as the key. “Only your necklace opens it.” She tells me, and then leaves me alone.
I kneel down in front of the box, holding my necklace in my hand. Do I just press it against the hole? I try that. I hear a click and the lock comes undone.
Inside, a single sheet of paper is lying in the bottom.
My mom was here with me when it happened. A different barista was at the counter, a girl named Rachel. Rachel came over and told me that there were some amazing birds outside, and I should go with her to watch them. She took me outside and showed me a blue-jay. Everyone has seen a blue-jay. When I turned around, she kissed me. She was at least 17, and I was only 14. She was my first kiss. I wish it had been you.
xoxo, Finn. 1224 Somervillle Road. Keep the box. It’s for you.
I grab the box, dust off my pants, and stand up. Upstairs, Becky has made me a fresh cup of coffee, and is setting it on the counter.
“It’s to-go. On the house.” She says, smiling.
“Thanks so much. I may be back.” I return the smile and then walk out to my car. The clock reads 10:01. How many clues are there?
On Somerville Road, I almost laugh. All the houses are blue and have white-picket fences around the property. A minivan sits in every driveway but one. That house has a red mustang, and is 1224. Of course.
I knock on the door, and it’s swung open by a boy in jeans and a Pink Floyd t-shirt. I’m getting the nerd vibe from him.
“Hi. Sorry to disturb you. Did you know Finn Mitchel?”
He seems taken aback. “He was my best friend.”
“I’m Hannah, his girlfriend.” I lift up the pendant.
He smiles and opened the door wider. “I’m Conner.” He leads me to a room I am assuming is his. We sit on the bed, and I speak first.
“He’s dead. Finn.” I say, looking down at the quilt.
“I know.” I’m surprised. He’s the first. “I hit him.”
I get up. I want to slap him. Kill him. Hurt him. Instead, I ask, “Why?”
He looked down and picked at the bedspread. “He asked me too.”
I almost fell backward. “Wait. He wanted to die?”
“Do you know why?”
“Why I am I here?”
“I’m supposed to help you.”
“He asked you, and then you happened to kill him?”
“Yeah, I guess. It sounds morbid that way.”
“It’ll sound morbid no matter how you say it.”
He chuckled, “Yeah, I guess so.”
“Can we go now?”
“You know where to go right?” I didn’t want to get in the car with the guy who killed Finn, and not have him know where he’s supposed to take me.
“Obviously. 606 5th.”
We get up and leave. I run through all of the reasons I should not be doing this. A) He killed Finn. B) I don’t know him. I guess my curiosity won me over. You know what they say, curiosity killed the cat.
As he drove, we talked. He told me about the Finn he knew, shy and always unhappy. I described my Finn, outgoing, fun, and popular. They were nothing alike.
“Why did Finn change?” I ask, doubting he knew, but still hoping.
“I have no clue. He never liked who he was. Maybe that’s why.” He gripped the steering wheel even harder.
“Did he have a girlfriend when you knew him?”
“He used to.”
“Did he love her?”
He looked at me. “Let’s just say this. She was nothing close to you.”
“I’m glad.” We looked at each other and laughed. I can see why Finn would like him. He’s nice.
“Did you know his parents?” He asks. It seems like an odd question.
“Yeah. Mary and Micheal.”
“That’s not who his real parents were.”
Finn has, had so many secrets I never knew. “Why didn’t he tell me?”
“You’ll find out,” he says and looks back to the road.
Number three was a park. It was eleven o’clock by now, and no one was out. The swings were still, the trees silently swaying.
Then I saw it. A rock in the shape of an H. I had given it to him a few weeks after we had started been dating. I ran to the stone and held it for a minute. One more thing he had touched. Conner sat down beside me and began to dig through the playground sand. A diary lay at the bottom, wrapped with sheer white cloth. a ribbon was around it, tied in a bow.
I lift it out of the hole and pull the ribbon. the box comes undone, and a piece of paper falls out.
Hannah and Conner,
This diary holds the secrets both of you don’t know. Things I never told you that happened. If the page is addressed to one of you, it’s only for that person. I hope you two understand at the end why I did what I did.
I look at Conner, and he nods. The first page is addressed to me.
I know you don’t understand how I could leave you. How I could ever do this. How could I ever kill myself. Suicide. The words take up more space when they’re said. I never liked saying it for that reason. I just did though. Aloud. It haunts the room I’m in.
This hunt is not just for you. It’s for Conner too. I want you to get to know him. He’s an amazing guy. I hope you like him and trust him as much as I do. I would trust him with my life. If you don’t just keep his number. He’s the second most important person in my life. You’re the first.
Hannah, when I die I wonder what I’ll think of. I hope I think of you. I hope your face flashes through my mind as my heart stops beating.
I hope that you understand. You probably won’t. Actually, I know you won’t. I want you to just understand where I am coming from. My life didn’t seem so bad when I knew you. It was bad before I met you. You are in the town where it all went wrong.
Conner is wiping the tears from my cheeks. His touch feels like Finn’s. Then I see him. Finn’s figure sitting in a tree, his hair tossled perfectly, the watch he wore daily on his wrist.
“Conner, he’s here.” I whisper, hoping he will see Finn too.
“Huh?” He turns towards the tree and sees Finn. His hand covers his mouth in surprise.
Then I hear the voices in my head. Hannah... Come back to me. “Finn...” I say, knowing Conner understands. I can’t stay like this forever. I just wanted to see you one last time. “NO! Finn, don’t go!” I yell, feeling Conner’s arms wrapping around me. “Don’t leave me...” I whisper, and tears start to fall.
I let them fall, making water marks on the collar of my shirt. They coat my neck. I have the urge to wipe them away. I don’t.
His face is floating slowly away. Conner and I are whispering and yelling at him not to leave.
“Finn! No!” I yell.
“Finn. Please. We need you.” He says next to me.
“I love you!” I yell, wanting the whole world to hear. “I love you.” I whisper, and then he fades into the night. I fold into Conner, sobbing into his shirt. He is crying too, the tears falling into my hair.
We must look insane. We’re holding each other, crying and yelling, all because we saw a ghost.
I don’t know if I believe in ghosts. Finn did, he told me one night. We were lying a patch of grass in the park.
“Do you believe in ghosts?” He asked, looking over at me.
“I don’t know. I thought I saw one before we moved, but I think I imagined it.”
“I do.” He said.
“Yep. The whole shabang.”
“Wow. one more thing I never knew.”
“Trust me. There’s more.”
There was a bunch more. I wish he had told me all the secrets. I guess he wanted me to learn this way. Tracing them, following a path through his old town, guided me his former best friend.
“Hannah, look.” Conner was holding the drawing, open to the back cover.
“What?” I look over his shoulder and see an address. It’s for clue number 4.
“213 E. 3rd Street.” He whispered.
“Conner? You okay?”
“It’s the middle school. I can remember when he warned me. I thought he was joking.” Conner’s eyes had glistened over.
“What did he say?”
“He told me he wanted to die.”
The Somerville Middle School was grey. Grey brick, grey sidewalk, no leaves on the trees, no grass, grey everything. I was depressed just looking at it.
“Come on.” Conner opened the door, and pulled me out too. “He wants us to go inside.”
“How are we getting in?”
“How do you think? A key.”
“Where did you get a key?”
“Finn made me a copy.” He was always surprising me.
He pulls a set of keys out of his pocket and sifts through them until he finds the one he’s looking for. It’s labeled “Front Door” in what I’m assuming is young Finn’s handwriting. He inserts the key into the lock and the door swings unlocks. We both stare at each other, a bit surprised, and nervous about what lies ahead.
When we reach the end of the hall, I see a note on a door of some classroom.
“6-17-11?” I say, turning to Conner.
“His locker combo?” I shrug in response, knowing it’s the most probable answer.
Finn’s locker is at the end of the math wing, and in a corner. The number is 345. Wow. 3-4-5? I turn the dial. 6. 17. 11. The locker door opens, and a VHS lies in side with a note.
I was telling the truth. -Finn
Conner’s eyes are welling up, and I know he feels responsible. I hug him and hold him, letting his tears fall onto my shirt. We’ve both had our share of tears.
“Do you have the key to the teacher’s lounge?”
He nods and turns towards the way we came.
“You know it’s not your fault.” I say, knowing that he deep down knows it too.
“I know.” He has turned around, “It’s easy to forget though.”
I nod, knowing exactly what he means.
“Come on, let’s go find that teacher’s lounge.” Conner pulls my by my arm into the main hall.
We have finally found the key and the VHS player inside the teacher’s lounge, after some hard searching. I bought a Snickers Bar and settled down for the movie.
The screen flickered, and then Finn’s face appears. He looks just as I remember him. He is wearing the green shirt he had been wearing two days before his death.
“Hey Conner and Hannah. Miss me yet? It feels weird talking about myself from the point of view that I’m dead, when, as of right now, I’m not.
“You’re probably wanting to know why I decided to leave you a video, instead of the standard letter that you’re accustomed to. Well, I wanted to show you something. Actually, two things. One is what happened here, two years ago, and the other thing is why I’m going to die. Or died.”
I look at Conner, who is as white as a sheet. His red hair looks like fire and it’s a bit freaky.
“Conner, you remember that day. The day you thought I was joking around, but actually I was telling the truth. I told you only because I wanted someone to know. I wanted someone to tell me that life was worth living. Hannah, you told me that. But, by then I had already made up my mind, and it wasn’t going to change. I just wanted to have an amazing few last months. And you gave me that.
“I’m off-topic. Okay. Back to that day. I was standing right here.”
Finn was standing in the Math wing, right in the middle of the hall. Conner was nodding his head, agreeing that all of this was true.
“Conner, you were next to me. We had been walking to Algebra, and I stopped.” Finn stopped walking, “and I said ‘I want to die’. You looked at me like I was insane. Which I realise, was pretty true.”
“Finn, you’re not insane.” I say, out loud, wishing he could hear me through the screen.
“I mean, I am leading the two most important people in my life on a morbid treasure hunt. That’s real normal. ‘People aren’t normal though’, is what you would say Hannah. You would tell me everyone is unique. You would say ‘Finn, you’re the best you could be.’
“The problem is that I’m not. I’m not even close to the best I can be.” Finn was lying in the grass in the courtyard. I could see the courtyard from the window. “Conner, I wanted someone to save me. I wanted you to tell my life was worth living. I wanted to know I had something worth living for.”
You had me Finn, I think, I was important enough. Right?
Finn was now sitting on a white table “I just realized that my insane mind has forgot to mention why I killed myself. Well, it all started with one person. A girl as a matter of fact. Her name is Stephanie Brown. Conner, if you think really hard, you may remember her. She was my middle school girlfriend. One night, out of the blue at a party, she yelled out ‘Oh my god!’ Everyone turned around wanting to know what one of the most popular girls was yelling about.
‘I can’t believe you!’ She started to cry.
‘Steph, what did I do?’ I asked, totally confused.
‘You cheated on me? Remember Finn?’
I couldn’t believe her. It wasn’t true. I had never kissed anyone but her. ‘Stephanie what are you talking about?’
‘I can’t believe you.’ She spat, and walked off. Somehow, I was happy she was gone. I just didn’t want her to make my life totally horrible, which she was totally capable of. After Steph left me, I was an outcast. I had practically no friends because my only friends had been Steph’s. I didn’t think I fit in anywhere. It was ¾ of the way through my eigth grade year. Everyone already had friends. I did have you though Conner. You tried and almost succeeded at saving me. You weren’t enough though. I needed someone else.
“It felt like my parents had forgotten about me.” Finn was walking down the outside hall. “When I came home from school there was almost always a not saying, ‘We’re out at dinner. Be home at 1. Here’s some cash for take-out.’ When my parents were actually home, dinner was awkward. Dad decided that talking about work and school over some food my mom cooked up would pass as a ‘family gathering’. Basically he talked the entire time.
So, all of this combined caused me to become incredibly depressed. I stopped doing my homework and spent my afternoons at detention. When I was home, I was listening to bad rock music and writing depressing poetry. You noticed my lifestyle changes Conner. I remember you asked me if I was okay. I told you I was fine, and the conversation was over. I wanted you to ask me again. You didn’t though. You left me to keep on depressing myself.
“Then my mom noticed me and decided to get me some help. I started going to a shrink every week on Saturdays. He had bad dandruff, un-comfortable chairs, and asked me to talk about my problems. I hated him. Especially his stupid flyers with self-help topics on the front.
“My shrink realised I hated him and told my mom the name of a different guy. The new guy was loads better. He told me that parts of life are horrible, but it gets better. That sometimes no matter how dark a tunnel is, there’s still light on the other side. He was slowly pulling me out of the hole I had dug for myself, when my mom stopped my visits.
“So I continued to dig my hole. You two tried in your own ways to pull me out, but you were too weak. I had already set my mind on dying. 192 Main Street.” The TV flickered off and Conner and I were sitting in darkness. I could hear Conner softly crying next to me. My eyes were watering up, and I was close to crying. I don’t want to cry though. I want to be normal, for once.
“Hannah, it’s 1 in the morning.” Conner says next to me, and I realise he is right.
“I need to get a hotel room,” I said, standing up. “You going home?”
“No.” He said.
“You want a hotel room?”
“Let’s go then.”
We took the VHS, locked the teacher’s lounge, and left the school, leaving the beginning behind.
We drove to the only hotel in Somerville, and the place with the best waffles, according to Conner. Cavenill Hotel is tiny. Small windows, door, parking lot, plats, and sidewalk. As we walked to the entrance, Conner said, “I can see why he loved you.”
“I stare at him. “What do you mean?”
He turned to me, his brown haired mop swishing perfectly. “You’re caring, sweet, funny, and smart.”
“There are tons of girls like that out there.”
“But you’re the best one.” We stare at each other for a minute. I thought for split-second that we might kiss, but I pulled away from our stare before it become that.
“We should-” I started.
“Yeah.” Conner flipped around, totally embarrassed. What did I really want? To wallow in Finn being gone, or be happy?
We got rooms right next to each other, and told each other to wake up whenever. I had a feeling it would be a while before either of us slept.
I changed into my pajamas and brushed my teeth before flopping into bed with Finn's diary. Should I open it? Read it? You should read it Hannah, I told myself.
HannahI don’t know what to say.
I’ll never forget you?
I’ll see you again?
Someday we’ll be together?
I’ll love you forever?
It’s all true.
But not in the correct
I was sorry?
I would have never forgotten you?
We could have seen each other again?
We should be together?
When you die
we’ll be together.
Let’s hope you can
cheat in heaven.
You may be married.
I hope not.
You can do anything in heaven Finn. If I go to heaven.
sometimes I dream of you
other times I think of you
then I hope
that we will be together
that we can hold each other
will there ever be
I hope so.
“You already won’t Finn,” I think, “You never will.”
HannahThis letter has a certain topic. You. And. Someone. Else. That. Isn’t. Me.
I don’t want you to be lonely. Or sad. Although it will break my heart to see you with someone else, I can’t make you unhappy. Plus, you have hopefully 84 years left in you lifer. None of those should be spent lonely because of me.
Therefore, go be your amazing, alluring self. Be happy. For me.
P.S. Just so you know, I’ll always love you.
I can’t imagine being with anyone other than Finn. My Finn. I looked over at the clock. 2:30 am. I turned off my light, pulled the covers up to my neck and clutched the diary to my chest.
I must have fallen asleep, because when I open my eyes, it was bright and 10 o’clock in the morning. I pulled myself out of bed and checked my hair in the mirror. I almost screamed.
I LOVE YOU was written in red lipstick on my mirror. In his handwriting. DON’T TELL... was right below.
Downstairs in the dining hall, Conner was in a black shirt, dark jeans, and black high tops. I gazed down at my faded pink shirt, dark skinny jeans, and combat boots, and decided I looked okay.
“Hannah.” Conner called, smiling a me.
I waved, weaving my way towards him. “Hey.”
He laughed and showed me to the buffet line. “I recommend the waffles and eggs. That’s about it.”
“Waffles and eggs it is then,” I say and serve myself.
After an amazing breakfast, Conner and I check out. We drove to number 5 on the map, 192 Main Street. It was a bookstore.
“Stein’s Books?” I ask, looking at Conner.
“No relation that I know of. Everyone came here.”
“Let’s see what he’s got in store.”
We walked up to the door, a bell clanging as we walked in. “What do we do?” I whisper to him.
“Let’s tell them our names.” Conner walks up the counter and tells the saleslady our names and asks if we have anything for us.
“Hannah Thomas and Conner Quinn?” I look at Conner and mouth, Quinn? He mouths back, Shut up. “We have something for Conner Thomas...”
“That’s it,” Conner says, and “It’s ours.”
the lady looks back and forth between us and then says, “Wait here.”
“Conner Thomas?” I say, turning to Conner.
“Here we go.” The lady had placed a book in front of us. Finn’s Life.
I realise I have been holding my breath.
The cover of Finn’s Life was sign and half of a boy’s face. A face that looked a bit like Finn’s. I picked up the book and turned it over. I could feel Conner’s breath on my neck, reading over my shoulder.
Finn’s life has gone downhill ever since it happened. Nothing seems to pick him up again. Until he meets her. Then it all changes.
I look at Conner to see if he sees how creepily similar to Finn’s life. He is pale. Almost as if he’s seen a ghost. “Why did he leave this for us?” I ask.
“Maybe there’s something inside?”
I open the book and flip to the first page. Notes in blue ink in the margins. Just like Finn’s habit.
How did I find this? Why is it so similar to me? Did someone know?
“Turn to page 192.” Conner says. I stare at him.
“the address of the bookstore.” He shrugs, and then nods, telling me to turn the pages.
I take a deep breath and then flip to page 192.
I MISS YOU. GO TO MY HOUSE. SEE YOU THERE.
“Oh my god.” I whisper, “did he really die?”
“Maybe not.” Conner replies, and then walks up to the counter. “When was this book reserved?” He asks the lady.
“Hmm...” She clicks a few times on her computer before saying, “November 2nd.”
“That’s the day after he died.” I say quietly.
“Thank you.” Conner says, handing over the money to pay for the book.
“Have a nice day!” She says cheerfully.
“yeah right.” Conner mutters under his breath, and we walk out.
“Do you know where his house is?” I ask once we’’re the in the car.
“Yes. 147 Hayford Avenue.” He says, and I gasp, remembering the adress he told me that day.
“Is that where we’re going?”
“I’m assuming so.”
“Then let’s go.”
Conner puts the car in drive and pulls out of the lot, towards Finn. One more day with Finn. And maybe, his real parents.
The house is grey. Grey shutters, grey door. The only color is an old blue Chevy.
“Is this where his birth parents live?”
“Will they remember you?”
“Are they nice?”
“When I knew them, yes.”
“Do you they think they still are?”
“I sure do hope so.”
We get out of the car and walk up to the front door. I’m not sure to knock or not. “Should I knock?”
He just looks at me. “What do you think? Obviously.”
“Fine.” I knock at wait a few seconds. The door opens and a woman with a face that looks identical to Finn’s appears.
“Can I help you?” She asks.
“Umm.” I look at Conner, “We’re friends of Finn’s.”
She takes a double take. “Excuse me?”
“Aren’t you Finn’s mother?” Conner asks next to me.
“Yes, but I haven’t met any his friends other than this boy here, who I’m assuming is Conner?” She asks, gesturing at Conner.
“Yes,” he smiles, “I’m Conner.”
“Come in!” She opens the door wider and lets us in. I have no clue what to expect. But, I do know that she is incredibly sweet and caring.
She sets down a pot of tea in front of us and settles into the pink armchair.
“So, I am quite curious to know about who you are.” She says, gesturing to me.
Do I say I was his girlfriend? His girlfriend? I wonder if she even knows he’s dead. “I was his girlfriend.”
“Oh! Well, if you don’t mind me asking, why did you break up?”
I look at Conner. “Well, we didn’t.” I say, hoping this doesn’t really confuse her.
“Then why aren’t you his girlfriend anymore?” Oh god. She doesn’t know.
I stare at Conner. Do I tell her? “Ms. Owens, have you been into Crestview lately?”
“Why no hon, why?” she has this blank look on her face.
“Well, there was an accident.” I say, hoping Conner jumps in and helps me with this.
She gasps, “It wasn’t Finn was it? Oh god no. No.”
“Ms. Owen, Finn is dead.” Conner says, and then the tears start to fall. I come to her side and stroke her hair, even though we never knew each other. We had him in common. We both loved him.
“Conner.” I whisper and he comes next to me and sits down.
“I never got to say goodbye.” She whispers above me.
“Neither did I.” I say, and smile at her. I hope she understands that I loved him.
She takes a deep breath and looks at me. “You didn’t know I existed, correct?”
“Correct.” I am not going to hide from her.
“Well, I’ll tell you the story then.” She leans back in her chair and takes a sip of tea. “So, when Finn was little, his father and I were drunks. We never payed attention. I don’t remember most of his childhood. I feel so bad for everything we put him through. So, finally I realised my problems. I put Finn up for adoption, and kicked his dad out. He left, and I got myself under control, and I always wanted to see him again. I didn’t though.”
Conner and I are silent. Completely silent. I don’t know what to do.
“Don’t worry. I get it. Now, I have something I want the two of you to have.” She gets up and leaves Conner and I alone.
“Did you know that about her?” I whisper to Conner.
“She must have always been sober when I came over.”
“How did she hide it?”
“Wait.” He pauses, and then resumes, “We never hung out at his house. I always just picked him up. That’s how.”
“He never touched a drink. Ever.” I said, remembering at my cousin’s wedding how he didn’t have any champagne.
“Oh my gosh.” We just look at each other, realising one more piece in the puzzle.
“Here we go.” Ms. Owen comes back in and sets down a computer.
Conner and I look at each other, and then I open the lid.
I look at Conner and then type in:
Above the Stars.
Conner stares at me. Then, I smell the smoke. Then I hear the alarms blaring.
“HANNAH!!!” I can hear Conner yelling at me, but I can’t think straight. I keep on seeing Finn.
Hannah... Hannah... Don’t leave me...
“Hannah?” I can hear his voice above me. I open my eyes to see Conner standing over me.
“Hey.” I say and sit up. “What happened?”
“Well, there was a fire.”
“Obviously. I know that. Like what happened to everything?” I was only thinking about the computer. We never got to know what happened to it.
“If you’re thinking about the computer, I got it...” He reaches behind him, and pulls out the computer.
“Oh my god. Thank you!” I hug him and open the computer. I enter the password and wait. Then Conner gasps. It’s what we’ve been waiting for. I don’t know what happened, but it’s there.
I’m gone. Move on. I love who you two are. I’m glad you know the truth.
I put the finishing touches on my letter.
I hope that you get this letter. Somehow. Somewhere, you know what I’m missing. I’m missing you. I’ll always miss you, but I’m moving on. I love you, but I have to. Somehow.
I think that everything is falling into place now. I’m missing you, but I’m moving on. I won’t forget you. I can promise that. You have taught me that something I can never forget. I don’t now what I’ll do now, probably end up getting to know Conner better. You were right. He is a pretty amazing guy.I love you Finn, but I’m moving on. And this is my version of making it official. I’m send this letter to heaven, and I hope you get it. I know you are there because you did nothing wrong. I hope I’ll see you again. Someday.
With all my love,
I grab the envelope and slip the letter inside. I address the front:
When I set in the mailbox, it feels official. I can feel my heart slowly settling down. It feels... Normal. I walk away to sit in the dining room and watch the Postal Service take the letter away. Then I realise:
He’s gone. And never coming back.
Thirteen Reasons Why - I read this book which gave me the inspiration for Someday. It's an amazing book!
My English Teacher - Ms. Langley, thank you for your continued support!
Everyone who edited - My dear friends, thank you for each editing a page. I love you guys!
My brain - Oh brain, if you weren't as ah-mazing, this book wouldn't be here. LOVE YOU!