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We Were....(Louis Toliver Jr)


Here they were in Badalona. Years later and years older. Four trails of tracks, they tracked the beach of the Mediterranean Sea as the four of them met to remember Aiden. They had all met up in Barcelona from the states, like they had done years before, and took the train to Badalona along the beach, Aiden’s favorite place in the world, and they knew this because they had all traveled the world together with him. This was the place that brought them together. This was the place they came to by fate. This was the place they found together and this was why Aiden loved Badalona, for one time in his life he had everything he needed. He had his friends, he had his life, and he had Badalona. For Aiden, it was the life force that he didn’t want to leave, but he had to. But they had brought him back like they promised. This place and the places around it had changed all of them, it had made all of them who they were today, stronger.
And when they reached the water, the waves coming back and forth to their feet, they all stood in a line.  Aiden was gone now and they had made a promise they would bring his ashes to this place after he died. It was his favorite place because he had the “sea in front of him and the mountains behind him,” he would say, “I could die here. In fact, when I die I want you to scatter my ashes here.” He would speak with a glow on his face looking out into the sea, and then he would look back at the mountains and then he would look back at his friends, making a serious face and say, “I’m serious.” They all knew he meant it. He wanted to die here, but as their families aged across the seas, misfortune, mostly in the form of death, eventually brought them all back, as Aiden’s death brought them here.
            It was Harper that brought his memory first. Harp remembered Aiden’s big imagination. His talks of adventures and touching his feet on every continent, and with the exception of Antarctica, he did. He wasn’t afraid to go any place by himself. He was strangely a daredevil, yet cautious, a cautious daredevil. “If we hike up this mountain we’ll be able to get a great view of the town and the sea from the farm valley at the center.” Harp tried his hardest the keep up with Aiden’s fast pace the first time they hiked to the valley. Aiden loved having lunch in the valley and he went every weekend day from that point on. Getting all of them or any which of them who wanted to go, to go.
            Sara pulled her memory out of her gut. Sara remembered Aiden’s sense of adventure. She laughed a little inside, even though her eyes burned with tears. She would never forget their first day in Barcelona, they took the wrong bus and ended up, two hours outside Barcelona, in Reus. Neither of them knew Spanish at the time. Aiden could only say “Yo busco” in his best worst Spanish accent and point, which wasmore than Sara would attempt to say. At first, they were frustrated and a little scared, but Aiden said, “What the hell! We’re here, let’s check this place out for a day before we ride back.” It took them two days to get back because they didn’t have that much money. They slept in a small airport with no accessible electrical outlets and 3 terminals outside the city center the first night and got a hostel in the center the next day, though it took almost an hour of hand gesturing to the lady at the front desk to pay and learn the check out procedure. 
            Bailey remembered Aiden’s protectiveness, he was fiercely loyal. “Protect yourself, Bailey Mae,” Aiden loved Bailey like a sister, she knew this and she felt the same love. Those creepy men that tried to take her away, one night when they were out in the city partying. She screamed, and Aiden grabbed them immediately. They fought him, both of them. They could have killed him, but they didn’t. They grew tired and Sara helped her injured friend back to the their apartment. It took a long time for the bruises to go away, but he never regretted it, she never forgot his intensity that night.
Jason pulled out a small wallet size photo of Aiden. It was a picture of all of them, there first time on this beach. Jason remembered Aiden’s heart. When Jason’s father died, he was far away form home. He would never forget the day he got the news. “You gotta go. We gotta get you home, buddy. Now,” Aiden consoled Jason. Jason couldn’t afford to get back immediately, and within a week he had enough money to get a plain ticket because Aiden had picked up extra shifts working to help Jason get home to his family as soon as possible. His family was able to hold the body, and the funeral until he got home.
When the ashes hit the water, they wondered where Aiden would go. If any part of Aiden remained in those ashes, they figured it would be a place he had never been before. He had been to Italy, most all of Western Europe, but his life was cut short before he could explore more of Africa. They wondered if his ashes would float past Italy and land on the banks of Libya or Egypt, they knew he would just love that so much.

           
            

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