The Forgotten Secret/C4 #4 Saying Goodbye
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The Forgotten Secret/C4 #4 Saying Goodbye
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C4 #4 Saying Goodbye

"I just can't believe this is happening? Why do you have to go?" Anna laments while hugging her best friend so tight like she will not let go. Jo holds on to Anna as well.

"I'm sorry Anna. I don't want to leave you too. You know how much our friendship means to me but this is for my mom and dad, for our family," Jo starts to explain.

She takes a deep breath and stares around. She blinks several times to keep her tears from falling. Jo doesn't like Anna to see how terribly sad she is feeling right now. She knows it will make things harder for her best friend to say goodbye too if she sees her tears.

Jo looks up to the darkening sky. The weather seems to take a gloomy mood too. It is almost sundown but the sun is as if in a hurry to set.

“It’s getting dark. I think it is about to rain.”

Jo tries to say something casually about the weather as she squints her eyes to the remaining ray of light from the sun.

"Finally we will all be together. Dad has been away for a long time and I know that makes Mom miserable because we were left here. They have decided that I should grow up here. I should stay in a place where everything is peaceful." She continues.

“Yup this place is going to be a lot quieter without you.” Anna interjects while smirking, in an attempt to tease Jo.

"They spend so much time apart for my sake. Dad's Archaeological job has taken him away from us way too long and now that there's a chance that we can join him in Alaska, we really have to go. I think I ought to give them a chance to be together." Jo takes another deep breath.

She hopes that her speech is as convincing to her friend. She feels she finds it hard to lie to Anna. Growing up together really makes them more like sisters.

"Alaska, huh, imagine me going there? Everything is frozen, not much greens to see. I know I will miss this place a lot and most especially you!" Jo adds in a lighter tone to pacify her friend's sadness, and hers too.

"I know, I know, and I do understand, it's for your family. I am happy that finally you will all be together. I just thought we will graduate together and go to College!" Anna says but now a bit calmer.

"I wonder how you will manage Mathematics?!" she teases Jo once more. Anna grins a bit.

"Great, Anna! Thanks for reminding me! Maybe I will end up flunking my Math subject and they will end up kicking me back here quickly.” Jo replies sarcastically. At least it made her friend smile.

“I will miss you terribly! You always solve my homework. I just get confuse with all those numbers. Dad will surely have me tutored, I guess." Jo replies with a frown. She recalls the endless times Anna patiently explains to her, hoping she will finally get it but fails.

"I will chat with you every day. I know you are not into internet and stuff, but that's the fastest way we can talk to each other! I will miss you every day my bestie," Jo reminds Anna reassuringly.

Anna just nods and gives her friend another tight embrace. Her locket starts to glow. Both break away from their embrace.

“Even my locket misses you already.” Anna takes the locket out to show her friend the pulsing green light from her neck.

“Okay, okay I get the message. Hey, Anna… Stay weird alright?” Jo makes a last attempt to humor her friend.

“Well, you know me? You won’t find anyone in Alaska like me.” Anna retorts back at her with a little giggle.

"Do you still have the key I gave you for your tenth birthday? Keep it with you and keep writing to me every day like I am here. Just put every letter in the wooden box. I will read them when I get back, promise." Jo instructs her, serious once more.

Anna pulls the necklace once again from underneath her green cotton shirt to show Jo the key dangling with her emerald locket. The locket is glowing once more.

She turns around and touches a part of the trunk of the willow tree. Anna pushes a little groove in one part. After her hands found what it's looking for, she places the key to open a secret hole. Then she takes out the wooden box, opens it and takes out a blue paper.

"Here, read this when you miss me there," Anna says as she places the blue paper on her best friend’s hand.

"As for me, I miss you already. Our fifteen years of friendship will see more years to come. Take care of yourself Joanna!" she finishes as she hugs her friend again.

"You take care of yourself too, Arianna! You know what; I might end up reading this even before I reach Alaska. I will come back okay?" Jo promises again.

She folds the blue paper and places it in her jeans' right pocket. From the left one, Jo takes out a green paper.

“Here, I have one for you as well. Read it later.” Jo hands Anna the green folded paper.

"How much time do you have?" Anna inquires, glancing at the road, as far as her eyes can see. Looking at it reminds her how far of a distance her friend's destination will be. Her expression turns into a frown again.

"Actually, a little bit more. Mom and Dad are on their way here now after they leave the keys of our house to Aunt Lila." Jo answers, automatically checking her watch.

Jo stares at the blue door of Anna's house across the street. She seems to be making sure to remember it vividly.

The blue door has never changed its colour ever since she can recall. Popsie Reed seems to be attached to that colour.

Jo smiles to herself. I miss them already. She cannot count anymore how many times she has slept over their house whenever her Dad and Mom go out on a date when her Dad comes back from Alaska, for a short time for a break from work. Those were precious bonding moments.

Both girls sit under the willow tree, their willow tree. The tree that has been their fortress since they both learned how to climb it. The willow tree has been the silent witness of how their friendship grew. It is their trustworthy keeper of their secrets. Jo stares at the leaves overhead, that she will miss too. She can feel her eyes starting to get wet. She wipes them quickly with her fingers before her friend notices.

Anna and Jo sit in a comfortable silence with each other. Probably both are wondering how different their lives will be far apart from each other. They hold hands the whole time.

After a while, a grey van arrives in front of them. The van feels like a bell tolling to remind the girls of their ticking moments left.

They suddenly snap out from their deep thoughts. Both girls stand slowly, taking their time a bit. Both are still holding on to each other's hand.

Mr and Mrs Daniels walk up to the girls. Reed and Rose emerge from the blue door. They cross the street from their house to see the Daniels' departure.

Olivia Daniels gives Rose a tight embrace after saying, "keep in touch, Rose.”

We are not sure when we will be back because of Mark's job, but we will definitely be missing you all. Thank you for treating Jo like your own daughter."

"Oh, hush, Liv. Anna and Jo are like sisters already."

Rose sniffs, suppressing her tears from falling.

“You are family to us already.” She adds.

Rose hands a pack of sandwiches to Olivia as she says, "For your trip, Jo might get hungry."

Mark Daniels and Reed exchange a steady arm hug, "take it easy out there, man."

Then, that is it for Anna and Jo. They hug, cry and sigh in defeat.

"Goodbye for now," Jo whispers.

"Goodbye for now," Anna whispers back.

Their clasped hands don’t seem to want to separate. But they know it's really time to part for now.

So, right beside the willow tree, Mr and Mrs Rivers, with Anna, watch as the grey van of Mr and Mrs Daniels, with Jo, slowly disappears at the corner of the street.

Suddenly, Anna feels like the weather became colder, lonelier, sadder...

"Goodbye..." someone else seems to whisper.

Anna glances at the willow tree.

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