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  • The Disappearance

January 01, 2024

The Disappearance

By Jenna Young

 

It was winter when my best friend disappeared. We had been talking the night before about running away together and starting a new life in Europe. When he said goodnight and that he would talk to me tomorrow, I had the audacity to believe him. Tomorrow came and went without a word. As uncharacteristic as it was, I let it slide. Until a week went by and I still had not heard a word.

We have been friends for years, until recently when we became something more. We had gone to college together and formed a bond over the trauma of failed tests and failed relationships. Our little friend group grew, and we spent every spare minute together. That continued even after we had all graduated and gotten real jobs. We were the friend group that everyone else was jealous of. But, as they say, all good things must come to an end.

The others moved on after a few years, tired of living in the town that brought us all together. They wanted kids and were insistent that raising kids in a college town was stupid. We did not want that though. We wanted to cling to our youth. So that’s exactly what we did. We carried on at our simple jobs, avoiding talking about our friends that left. Avoiding talking about our true feelings for each other.

It took us seven years to finally confess how we felt to each other. Seven years of dating other people, trying to forget the only other person that ever made us feel alive. Seven years of dodging questions from our friends about when we were going to suck it up and get together. Seven years of pretending. Until one evening with just the two of us hanging out on his apartment building’s roof. He’d had enough of the pretending and finally kissed me.

It was the best three months of my life. We were in the honeymoon phase with no end in sight. It was pure bliss. We spent every waking moment together. Even every non-waking moment. That night during the winter was the first night we did not spend together in three months. He had an early work meeting and did not want to wake me before necessary. But I did not hear from him for a week.

I was done being ghosted by the only person I cared about. After everything we had been through, I was not going to deal with being treated like that. I showed up to his apartment ready to yell and scream then make everything up with a passionate kiss. When I got there, fists already balled, it was not my best friend that answered the door. It was a woman.

Looking back, I know it was me that screamed and threw the first punch. In the moment, I know I was not thinking clearly through the anger and betrayal. Once my temper had calmed, the woman had time to explain herself. The issue was that her story made no sense to me. She told me she had been living in that exact apartment for three years. The exact apartment that my best friend had lived in for four years. I left the girl with an apology and sought out the landlord.

After learning that the landlord had no recollection of my best friend either, I went all over town, asking if anyone had seen him. I went to all of our favorite spots; the library, the coffee shop, and the bookstore. No one in those places remembered him either. It was like he disappeared from the face of the earth. I caved and called our old friends, even though I hadn’t spoken to them in years. They remembered me, but not him. No one did. Except me.