sitting there, when nick trudged slowly in the door.
"hey mom, i'm home." he called, then he saw her
sitting at the table. "mom it's okay." he said, and
he ran over and gave her a hug. he looked up at me.
"rachel?" he asked, shocked.
"hey nick." i said, and stood up. he wrapped me
up in a huge hug.
"i can't believe you're here." he said.
"i had to come." i said, and wiped a tear off his
"it means a lot." he offered.
"nick, we're going to rob's spot. do you need
"yea, really fast." he said, and ran upstairs. we sat
in silence for a few moments, until i broke it.
"did you ever end up going through all of his things?"
"we went through it. i just couldn't bring myself
to throwing it out." his mom said, staring at the table.
"there's actually a box of stuff i thought you'd
like to have. al can you go get it?" she asked.
"sure." alex said.
"do you mind if i come?" i asked.
"no. you were probably here just as much as rob
was." we'd never done anything. we both promised
to wait until marriage, but i'd just slept there a lot when i
was too tired to go home myself. i walked up the familiar steps,
with pictures of each child going up. alex had her new
sophomore picture up, and we saw nick's college graduation
picture, and i saw rob's, which had enough force to make me
fall. it was his perfect face, with blue eyes and blonde
buzz cut, with his flashing white smile. his dimples were
chisled in his cheeks, and he looked so happy. it was
unchanging, there would never be a new picture to take that
year's spot. i thought of when i went to get senior
portraits. the chase's will never have that to fill
rob's frame. just a space of what could have
been. i realized i paused on the steps, and i kissed my
fingertips, and placed it on the frame, as i walked up the
stairs. rob always hated that his picture was there, but
we'd always joke about it. at the top of the steps, i
saw the door to the left, which was alex's, and the vacant
one to the right, which was nick's. straight back, the
door was closed. the familiarity was overwhelming.
alex led me back, and opened the door. i welled up, and
started crying about how similar the room really was. his
walls were white, but there were lacrosse posters
everywhere. his huge full bed was in the middle, and his
mahogany wood bureau with the tv on it was straight from the end
of his bed, with his bathroom door right next to it. to the
right of the bathroom door was his desk, with the empty space
where his computer used to be. in the corner, there was the
university of virginia flag he put up himself. the bed was
stripped, and there was a box on top of it.
"here, this is for you." alex pointed, and sat down on
his desk chair. i sat down on the bed to go through what
was in it. i remembered the countless hours we'd spent
here, just cuddling, talking, laughing, or crying. planning
out our future together, where we would go to college, and what
lacrosse schools were good. he always would kiss me as soon
as we were alone in his room. i'd no sooner get in the
door and shut it, he run up and kiss me. he wasn't huge
on p.d.a's, but when it was just the two of us, he was always
holding me, kissing me, and telling me how much he cared about
me. i opened the box, and there were a bunch of
pictures. the first one was us at junior prom. it was
the week before his accident. i remember i had so much fun
with him by my side the whole time. i had a pink dress simple
strapless dress, and he matched with a black suit, black shirt,
and pink tie. this picture was in a frame, that had
'love' written under it. there were just a few more
simple frames, with pictures of us. there was one after his
lacrosse game, he was in uniform, and i was there, and after he
scored the winning goal, he ran off the field to find me, and
picked me up and kissed me. there was another one, of us
both wearing our lacrosse jerseys, when the girls team had to
escort the guys team out on the field. one was just me
smiling, and he was kissing my cheek. then, i remembered
how i'd bring over a bunch of pictures, and he'd put them
up on his wall, "so i'd never spend a moment without
thinking about you." was how he put it. the space on
the wall was empty, but in the box, i saw all the pictures neatly
stacked up. under was another hoodie or two of
his. i took a quick look through the first small stack of
pictures. there were a ton just of us being crazy, one at
the pool, at the mall, wherever we went together. there was
one of us in a frame that i missed, but there was a copy of it
from the wall. it was one of his cousin's weddings, and
he took me. it was of his whole family, with me in
it. that was his complete picture.
"i'm sorry." i looked up at alex.
"whenever you are." she said, and she got up and walked
out of the room. i picked up my box, and brought it
downstairs. mrs. chase was still sitting at the table, and
mr. chase wasn't.
"thank you so much." i said to mrs. chase. "are
you sure you want me to take all of these?" i asked, through
"yes, that's the only way rob would have wanted
it." she said.
"well then here, keep this one." i said, and pulled out
the one of her family and me in the frame. "this is what i
want you to remember me by. a good memory." i said,
and wiped my eyes. "everyone's happy, and that's how
it should be. rob's in a better place now, and i know
he's watching me. he's not suffering, and we'll
see him soon enough. we are alive, healthy, and well.
and that's all we can ask for right now. i don't
want you to remember me a crying now, so just keep this
one." i smiled, and she was tearing, and gave me a huge
"thank you dear." she whispered.
"i'm sorry, i have to get back to go play in my
game." i smiled. "i'll be back soon, i
promise. thank you for this." i smiled.
"you're welcome dear. you're always welcome
here." mrs.chase said, and i hugged everyone goodbye, before
i got in my car to go home. as soon as i got outside the
clouds cleared, and the sun shone down on rob's
"don't worry rob." i whispered.
"we'll all be okay."