“It’s nice getting a chance to game again,” Jame commented as they walked under the sunset. “It’s been a year or so, but I think you’ll really like the campaign I have planned for you.”
“A year?” Cerys repeated, surprised to hear it. “For someone who seems to be as interested in gaming as you are, that is a really long time! You said something about slowing down with video games, too.”
“Yeah, well… with everything that was going on where I used to live, I had to take a break.”
Cerys looked up at him. There was a certain melancholy in his voice, a weight from the past that he was trying to be nonchalant about, but like her mother, she noticed it all to easily.
“What happened?” she asked, figuring that this was not going to be something that he didn’t want to talk about about.
“Remember when I told you that my friend gave me some of his stuff?” James sighed. Went she nodded, he went on. “I have all of his books, his CDs… his games. Even the ones that I had once given to him.”
“Did he change everything about himself and quit gaming?”
“Umm… Let me back up a little. His name was Demetri, and I’d known him since we were about nine or ten years old. We did everything together, for years. The problem was,” James said as they approached the gate to Cerys’s front yard, “his cystic fibrosis was getting worse.”
She was starting to see where this story was leading, and was almost sorry that she had asked. Still, something about him made it seemed that he had wanted to share, so she let him keep talk.
“My family was helping his as much as they could. It was just him and his mom, and one little sister, and he wanted so badly to get a job to help her out, but with his lungs being so sensitive, he had to keep up with his doctor’s appointments instead of work. My mother made sure that his medical bills were covered, w had them over for dinner half of the week, and for the longest time that was enough.”
“And you two played together?”
“Everything,” James agreed. “Dungeons and Dragons, Magic, all kinds of MMOs. He… he did not live for very long, but he sure was happy while he was around.”
Cerys could see the way his eyes shone in the dying of the light of day. She did not call attention to them, but said, “It sounds like he was your best friend.”
“Until the very end. Cystic fibrosis is evil like that, though, taking people before their time. He could have gone to college with me, chased after all the girls, camped out waiting for the newest games together, if it hadn’t been for CF. The problem was, the rainy season was longer than normal, and it went straight into the winter snows. Actually, even I ended up sick. I couldn’t see him for a week. The only reason I got to visit him at all was because…” He gave a heavy sigh before finishing the sentence. “The doctors knew there was no turning back.”
“You don’t have to say you’re sorry for my loss. I’ve heard it enough times. I just wanted to explain that. He left me his stuff; I’m not over-privileged or anything.”