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Chris is dead now.

It happened a while ago. I guess I should be over it by now. It's been so long. I've still got Gordie but let's face it – he's my cousin. I can't have a romantic relationship with him. I mean, he's my cousin.

When Chris died it was like I had been punched in the stomach. All the air was sucked out of my body. I completely forgot how to breathe. I just stood there outside the shop, clutching my belly, half a breath caught in my throat.

You know that feeling you get, that taughtness in your stomach, when you need to cry but there are too many people around? That desperate sob that's stuck in your throat, fighting to get out? That's what I felt. But it wasn't because I didn't want to cry. It was because I couldn't. I was so shocked and overwhelmed that I had been completely winded.

I miss him. I miss him with all my heart. I miss him when I lie awake and look at the ceiling, wondering when I'll finally fall asleep. I miss him when I wake up and look out of my window at the CastleRiver. I miss him when the day begins to end on a hot summer night.

I think that's when I miss him the most. When the light diminishes into nothingness and the sky goes a bruised purple.

Because that's when it all happened. That's when I met him. That's when my life ended and then started again, better than it had before.

That's when I set off on a trip that changed us all forever.