When a group of best friends graduated from high school, they were sad to find out they were moving to different places. They promised one another that no matter what happened, after 40 years, they'd meet again. When one of their friends did not show up, they decided to find out why.
"Congratulations, seniors!" the speakers roared on the last day of school. The students stormed out of their classrooms and cheered as they exited the school.
For the graduating class, it was a bittersweet moment that signified the end of something great and the beginning of something unknown. For Joseph, Kyle, Sam, and Harry, that day marked the end of their tight-knit friendship.
"What will I do without you guys?" Kyle asked as they walked down the same route going home for the last time. The four of them were inseparable, always joining the same organizations, spending every lunch break together, and attending all events as a group.
"Tell me about it, man. Europe is way too far away for my liking. You guys better write to me a lot," Joseph chimed in. He spoke about how for the longest time since they were children, they'd just dart to each other's houses whenever they needed each other.
Not wanting to go their separate ways just yet, the friends agreed to meet again the next day, sitting by the beach in their coastal town. There, they spoke about where life was about to take them and how they planned to stay in touch.
While Joseph was moving to Europe, Sam was to study in Canada. Harry was moving with his family to Mexico, where his father was offered a job. Meanwhile, Kyle decided to stay in California and study at the University of California Los Angeles, where he got a basketball scholarship.
They couldn't help but shed tears during their talk by the beach. "Let's all write to each other at least every other month. What do you guys say?" Kyle suggested.
They all agreed, and Sam tore four sheets of paper from his notebook where they wrote their future addresses. Once that was settled, they made sure that in case they lost touch, they'd meet again in the future.
The group of friends enjoyed one last day together at the beach. | Photo: Pexels
"How about this," Sam started. "In exactly forty years, let's meet here. Today's May 30, so we'll meet here on that day forty years from now. Same time," he said.
"Let's do it," Harry said, smiling. They all raised their soda cans as a toast, signifying the promise that they'd all make it back to the beach in four decades.
Years had passed, and the group of friends eventually lost touch. Their lives got so busy that they never got to update each other about when they moved places. However, when the 40-year mark came, they never forgot about the promise they made, and they all booked flights to California from wherever they were.
Kyle was the first to arrive, and he sat on one of the park benches while waiting for his friends. Soon after, Harry arrived, walking along the seashore. He was excited, having traveled from Mexico to get there.
"Of course, you're the first one here," he said immediately as he saw Kyle. "It's so good to see you, brother," he added, giving Kyle a tight hug.
Harry and Sam flew in from Mexico and Canada respectively to make it to their reunion. | Photo: Pexels
The two friends caught up with one another while waiting for the others. They talked about what they did after high school, their families, and what they've been up to in recent times.
Thirty minutes later, Sam arrived. His flight from Canada was delayed, which is why he didn't arrive on time. Despite nearing their 60s, they were too excited that they jumped for joy as they hugged one another.
"Do you think Joseph forgot about our promise?" Sam asked after they waited for an hour without him arriving.
"I don't think he would!" Harry concluded. So the three decided to stay there until nightfall to ensure they didn't miss Joseph. When he didn't come, they fell silent, thinking something might have happened to him.
Harry decided to smoke a cigarette while waiting. As he motioned to light it, he accidentally dropped his lighter, and when he bent down to get it, he saw a piece of paper under the bench that read, "Joseph." He picked it up and they were surprised to see that it was a letter from their friend.
"Sam, Harry, Kyle, it's me, Joseph. I lost all of your addresses, so I couldn't write you personally. I asked a friend of mine here to contact someone in California who could print this out for me and place it on the bench. I'm sorry I didn't make it there. I have no money. A few years after moving to Europe, my parents died in a car accident, and I couldn't graduate from university. I've been working as a school janitor for most of my life here. The money is barely enough for me to live, so I could not afford a ticket back to California. I wish I were with you right now. This is my current address where you can write to me. With love, Joseph."
Joseph had asked someone to put a note on the bench on his behalf. | Photo: Pexels
Harry, Sam, and Kyle were saddened by the letter. "I wish we never lost touch. That way, we could've known what was happening and we could have helped him sooner," Harry said after he finished reading.
"I know, I thought we were all doing okay. At least I wished we were. I'm so sad to hear Joseph has been having a difficult time," Kyle chimed in.
"Well, we planned to be here for a couple of days. How about we surprise him by going to Spain? Maybe it would cheer him up," Sam suggested.
The three men all agreed to spend their vacation in Spain instead of California. They booked the next flight out without a second thought.
When they found him at the address he gave, Joseph was surprised to see them all in the flesh. "What are you all doing here?" Joseph said in awe.
"Well, when we saw the letter from you, we couldn't just leave you here, could we?" Kyle said, hugging his friend.
It turned out that Joseph had a wife and daughter, but when he couldn't find a job more than being a janitor, they left him. It had been more than ten years since he'd last seen them.
Knowing this, Harry decided to do something for Joseph. "You're coming back to Mexico with me, my friend," he said.
At first, Joseph was hesitant until he realized Spain had nothing good to offer him any longer. It helped that the language spoken in Mexico was Spanish, so he felt he would not have a hard time fitting in.
The group of friends toured Spain before heading back home. | Photo: Pexels
After Joseph agreed, the friends were all relieved to know that each one of them was doing okay. "Well, now that that's settled, how about we give ourselves a little tour of Spain before going home?" Sam suggested.
Joseph smiled, volunteering to be the tour guide. For the next couple of days, the group of friends toured Spain like they were teenagers on a field trip. They enjoyed the sights together, devouring all the delicious Spanish food and wine they could take in.
Before heading back to their homes, they promised to keep in touch and meet at least once a year. They decided to take turns visiting one another in their hometowns, that way they get to experience how life is in different countries.
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