I hated seeing Skinner and I grow so much apart. I could never figure out why we did, but...

Maybe it's the fact that I went on to date Kelly during my senior year of high school. Kelly told me that somehow, during the times between my freshman and senior years, she saw something different me, something had changed. Something she couldn't put her finger on, but she liked it. She liked me, and lord knows that I had liked her for so long.

The time I started dating Kelly was about the time that Skinner and I started drifting apart. We still talked during classes and caused mischief in Three Pieces' surf shop on occasion, but not much else.

During this time, Kelly often questioned why I was drifting away from Skinner. I could never give her a straight answer. It boggled both of our minds. Her and I both knew it was a sad sight to see both Skinner and I grow apart like this, yet we knew that if it was destined for us to grow apart, we might just have to let us grow apart.

Skinner and I saw each other less and less during the school year. By the time graduation came about, it was nothing more than a single "hi" between us before the ceremony, and a "congratulations" afterwards.

I had never gotten a chance to see Skinner that summer.

After that summer, I moved into the apartment Kelly was renting out, while both of us went to college. I ended up deciding on retail management as what I wanted to do - Three Pieces promised me I could take over the surf shop one day, if I kept my grades up, and if I kept out of trouble in the shop.

Kelly was going to college for elementary education. She loved working with younger kids. She loved being around them, having that certain touch that gets them to listen to her, but with them still having her respect. She's going to be a fantastic teacher when she graduates.

I still worked at Three Pieces' surf shop in the duration of my college experience. I also took up giving surf lessons on the side to earn some extra money. I can tell this is going to be a fantastic life. I'm blessed I'm going to be doing something I love for a living. I could've sworn I saw Skinner once or twice from afar while I was working at the surf shop, as well as down at the beach while I was giving surf lessons. I couldn't work up the nerve to go and see if it actually was him. I miss him so much though…

After Kelly graduated college, she instantly found a job as a first grade teacher at an elementary school near our apartment. She was ecstatic.

I wanted to keep Kelly the happiest girl in the world, so I decided on a whim that the day she was hired as a first grade teacher, I would ask for her hand in marriage. I had been thinking about it for a while, and figured this would be a great time.

Of course she said yes! I figured it was worth a shot to send Skinner an email out of the blue, to tell him the news. Figures though that I never got a response back...


I graduated college with fantastic grades. I was a shoo-in for taking over Three Pieces' shop one day. Since we were blessed to already have our perfect careers, Kelly and I started discussing that we should settle down, and decide on a date for our wedding. We decided on the following summer, so it didn't collide with her teaching schedule. We planned on going to Hawaii - beautiful sights, and we wanted to get in a lot of surfing during our honeymoon.

Leading up to our wedding, we had so much to plan between our jobs, and everything for the wedding. Kelly decided on having Piper as her maid of honor, and some of her college friends as the rest of her bridal party. I tried getting in contact with Skinner to see if he wanted to be my best man... I never heard back from him. I've been close friends with Aloe lately - he's actually quite nice when he doesn't tease you - and asked if he wanted to be my best man. He accepted. A couple of my close college buddies filled out the rest of my groomsmen.

Kelly surprisingly didn't turn out to be as big as a bridezilla as I imagined her to be. Yeah, of course, she got controlling of some of the things because she wanted the wedding to be her perfect day, but she tried to be as laid back as she could. And of course, you know with Piper, she tried to sabotage a lot of what I tried to plan because she still does not like me for some reason...

The day of our ceremony was beautiful. We got married in a lovely church, filled with our family and a bunch of our friends. Kelly looked absolutely beautiful in her wedding dress, I had never seen her look so stunning. It was the first time I had gotten butterflies in my stomach since my crush on her when I was a freshman.

I now pronounce you man and wife. Our first kiss as a married couple. My stomach was bursting with the fire of a thousand fireworks. The start of my new life.

The honeymoon itself was more than I could ever ask for. We spend three weeks right on the beach, surfing way more than we could ever imagine, enjoying all the local food, and just taking in all the fantastic views Hawaii had to offer.

It was also the time for the moment we had waited for our entire relationship. Making love. Something that we had both wanted to wait for until we got married, and now was the time.

It was amazing.

A month later, Kelly surprised me with the news.

She found out she was about 6 weeks along. We were going to be parents. The greatest news of my life.

It still comes up in my mind - If I still kept in touch with Skinner, he would've loved to hear this. He absolutely loved kids, even though he scared some of the parents while he would play with their kids in the park when we were teens…

The next 8 months were a roller coaster. As much as it was a beautiful thing, Kelly was ready to have the baby. I could tell that being pregnant was taking its toll on her. She was exhausted. But before I knew it, baby Falco was here. He looked just like his mother. He was my new pride and joy.

My pride and joy - as much as I could ever love him - just drained Kelly and I these next couple of months. It's tough getting used to being a parent. Boy, was Falco a crier.

During one of Falco's late night crying sessions, something told me to check the computer. I rocked Falco until he fell asleep, then put him into his crib before turning on the computer. I checked my email and saw something I never expected to see - an email from Skinner.

Hey bro,

It's been a while. I was wondering if you'd like to meet up sometime? I'd like to catch up. I miss you.

-Skinner

I'd love to catch up with you, Skinner.

My mind was racing as I kept rereading this email. I desperately needed to meet up with Skinner again, to catch up on everything. I clicked reply, and told him where to meet me.

We met up at our former hang out spot in high school, the taco shop. The memories we had here, it brought back everything that I missed about our friendship.

It was the most surreal thing meeting up with Skinner again. The smile he gave me when I saw him walk in the taco shop told me that he really did miss me.

My stomach dropped. he looked the same as he always had. Still had that long blonde hair, and those goofy little mismatched clothes that still looked like they went together. He hadn't changed a bit.

We were both speechless the first couple of minutes. Not before long, he apologized for not talking to me anymore. I said it was fine, that we're talking now.

He asked me how my life was going. I told him that Kelly and I both graduated college, and she was a first grade teacher and I was hopefully taking over Three Pieces' surf shop soon. I told him that Kelly and I also got married recently, and that Falco was just a couple of months old. Skinner's face seemed to drop when I said I was married and had a kid.

I'm alright, I'm alright, he said when I asked him if there was anything wrong. I asked him how his life was going, he said he moved down to the coast after high school, so he could be closer to the beach. He wanted to be married to the ocean. He wanted to surf until he can't surf anymore.

I asked him why I never heard back from him about being the best man in my wedding. He told me even though we hadn't spoken in years, he couldn't stand to see that I was growing up, I was going on with my life, while he was still living his life in the ocean.

He said he was sorry for not speaking to me for all these years. He saw my growing relationship with Kelly and he admitted that he was jealous. he wanted a relationship like this, even though this made him realize our friendship was once like this.

He wished he could go back and just keep our friendship going on instead of not talking to me altogether.

He told me that he had always loved me.

Strangely this wasn't awkward at all - I gave him a little smile as we ate our tacos. It was nice seeing my old best friend again, both of us eating the food we once enjoyed.

I saw Skinner scribbling down a note as I was finishing up my last taco. He gave it to me and told me to read it when we left.

We spent some more time talking over random things happening in our lives before we decided to call it a night.

We walked out of the taco shop with a smile on our faces. It felt good to catch up with my old best friend again. As Skinner said his goodbye, I saw him hesitate on something.

Hesitate on giving a goodbye kiss. He started leaning in, when he jerked back, realizing what he did. He kept apologizing for it, but it was alright. I knew how he felt. His intentions were in the right place.

Our goodbyes finally came after a slight awkward moment. He reminded me not to forget to read the note he had written, as he walked away.

I pulled his note out of my pocket after he turned his back to me, walking away.

Bucket -

It was nice seeing you again today, I've missed you. I hated drifting away during high school and I regret not talking to you anymore - but it was nice just to catch up again. I see you really are happy with Kelly, and little Falco. I'm glad for you. I just wish I told you earlier how I felt about you. I just hope I get to meet up with you again someday.

I love you.

Skinner

I folded up his letter and put it in my back pocket. All the memories of how close we once were flooded back to me again. My stomach started aching, and a sudden realization dawned on me. I wish I had told him how much I loved him. Maybe we could've had something more than our close friendship if I had never gone out with Kelly.