Fly Away Page 61

Soon, my mom will be with me, although she doesn’t know it yet.

I look away for an instant, and I am back on Firefly Lane. It is morning. Tully limps out into the kitchen and has tea with her mother and they work in the garden, and I can see how strong she is growing. No more wheelchair for her. Not even a cane now.

Time passes. How much?

In her world, maybe days. Weeks …

And suddenly there is a man in the orchard, talking to Dorothy.

Tully puts down her coffee cup and moves toward him; her steps are slow and uncertain on the tilled, rough dirt of the garden. Her balance is still a little tenuous these days. She passes her mother and goes to the man, who holds a pair of—


“Des,” Tully says. She reaches out for him and he takes her hand in his. When they touch, I glimpse their future—a gray, pebbled beach with a pair of wooden chairs set near the tide line … a table set for some holiday dinner, with my family and hers gathered around it and a high chair pushed up close … an aging house with a wraparound porch that overlooks the sea. I see all of this in the time it takes my best friend’s heart to take a single beat.

I know in that moment she will be okay. Life will go on for her as it must; hearts will be broken and dreams will be fulfilled and risks will be taken, but she will always remember us—two girls who’d taken a chance on each other a lifetime ago and become best friends.

I move closer to her; I know she feels me. At last, I whisper in her ear. She hears me, or maybe she only thinks she knows what I would say now. It doesn’t matter.

It is time for me to let go.

Not of TullyandKate. We will always be a part of each other. Best friends.

But I have to move on, as she has.

When I look back one last time, from far, far away, she is smiling.