“WOW,” WAS ALL SHARON AND John could say as the three of them sat around the kitchen table in silence staring at the contents of the package that Holly had emptied as evidence. Conversation between them had been minimal for the last few minutes as they all tried to decide how they felt. It went something like this:
“But how did he manage to. . .”
“But why didn’t we notice him. . . well. . . God.”
“When do you think he. . . well, I suppose he was on his own sometimes. . .”
Holly and Sharon just sat looking at each other while John stuttered and stammered his way through trying to figure out just when, where and how his terminally ill friend had managed to carry out this idea all alone without anyone finding out.
“Wow,” he eventually repeated after coming to the conclusion that Gerry had done just that. He had carried it out alone.
“I know,” Holly agreed. “So the two of you had absolutely no idea then?”
“Well, I don’t know about you, Holly, but it’s pretty clear to me that John was the mastermind behind all of this,” Sharon said sarcastically.
“Ha-ha,” John replied dryly. “Well, he kept his word anyway, didn’t he?” John looked to both of the girls with a smile on his face.
“He sure did,” Holly said quietly.
“Are you OK, Holly? I mean, how do you feel about all this, it must be. . . weird,” asked Sharon again, clearly concerned.
“I feel fine.” Holly was thoughtful. “Actually I think it’s the best thing that could have happened right now! It’s funny, though, how amazed we all are considering how much we all went on about this list. I mean, I should have been expecting it.”
“Yeah, but we never expected any of us to ever do it!” said John.
“But why not?” questioned
Holly. “This was the whole reason for it in the first place! To be able to help your loved ones after you go.”
“I think Gerry was the only one who took it really seriously.”
“Sharon, Gerry is the only one of us who is gone, who knows how seriously anyone else would have taken it?”
There was a silence.
“Well, let’s study this more closely then,” perked up John, suddenly starting to enjoy himself. “There’s how many envelopes?”
“Em. . . there’s ten,” counted Sharon, joining in with the spirit of their new task.
“OK, so what months are there?” John asked. Holly sorted through the pile.
“There’s March, which is the lamp one I already opened, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November and December.”
“So there’s a message for every month left in the year,” Sharon said slowly, lost in thought. They were all thinking the same thing, Gerry had planned this knowing he wouldn’t live past February. They all took a moment to ponder this, and eventually Holly looked around at her friends with happiness. Whatever Gerry had in store for her was going to be interesting, but he had already succeeded in making her feel almost normal again. While she was laughing with John and Sharon as they guessed what the envelopes contained, it was as though he were still with them.
“Hold on!” John exclaimed very seriously.
John’s blue eyes twinkled. “It’s April now and you haven’t opened it yet.”
“Oh, I forgot about that! Oh no, should I do it now?”
“Go on,” encouraged Sharon.
Holly picked up the envelope and slowly began to open it. There were only eight more to open after this and she wanted to treasure every second before it became another memory.