So this is the other option for my short story. Once again, I went over the word limit, but only by 3 words! :D
Letters to Riley
'Dear Riley,' she began. 'I should probably type this up and email it to you, because that's what everyone does now, but you know how I am with keyboards.'
She could almost hear him chuckling at that. He had tried to teach her how to touch type a few summers ago, but she had grown frustrated and shoved him out of her room. She ignored him for a whole week, their longest record at that time. But she realised her stupidity, and typed an apology letter to him. The smile he smiled when he saw it made the tedious hours spent on typing it worthwhile.
'I'm getting better at typing now, though. Not as good as you of course, but Mama says I'm close. School is hard. I don't like big school anymore, I want to go back to day care – the teachers were nicer there. And I only liked big school because you were there. But then you left.'
She hadn't wanted to start primary school, but he had told her how much cooler she'd be if she went to 'big school' with all the big kids. She had smiled at him then, and told him that she was indeed a big girl, and she was ready for big school. She was extremely excited, because it meant she could see him every day. But then he moved to an even bigger school, high school.
'Why exactly did you leave? Everyone here loved you so much, and we all miss you now. I didn't even get to say goodbye.'
She paused, and wiped away the tears she felt forming in the corner of her eyes. Her mind flashed back to the day he suddenly left. She had bounded up into his room, excited to tell him that she had finally made a shot in basketball. But he wasn't in his room. He wasn't in the yard either, or in the living room. She had asked her parents where he went, but they never told her. No one told her where he had gone.
'Do you remember when we used to catch crickets in our backyard? We had competitions to see who could catch the most. Your half always had more crickets than mine did. There aren't many crickets around anymore – they must've all left with you.'
He had taught her everything she had thought a girl would need to know. He taught her how to play soccer, rugby and basketball. He had taught her all the secrets to playing Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Starcraft. He was her idol, and he was never too busy to spend time with her. She loved him, and he loved her. But things changed as they got older.
'You were always so happy. But remember that one day you came home looking sad? I do. Mama said something happened with Megan. Was she the pretty girl who used to have dinner with us on Friday nights? I didn't like her – she was mean to me.'
He withdrew from her when he hit puberty, saying that she was too little to join him and his friends when they went out. She later found out it was because Megan's friends didn't like her – Riley's friends paid more attention to her then the other girls.
'And then you stopped talking to me, because you got a phone for your birthday. You were always talking to your phone instead.'
Riley had fallen for Megan, and talked to her every single day. They were inseparable. He was convinced he was in love with her, and did everything she asked of him – he even stopped confiding in his little sister.
'I'm sorry for telling Megan that you called her a 'stupid poo-poo-head' even though you didn't. She was taking up all your time and you didn't save any for me. I'm sorry she got mad at you, but when she was mad at you, you started playing with me again, and I liked it.'
She had decided that getting rid of Megan would bring her brother back to her, and it did, for a while. He found out later that she had tried to ruin their relationship, and gave her the cold shoulder for months.
'You somehow found out, and got mad at me. You used to never get mad at me, and I was scared. So I made you a mud pie to say sorry, but I remember you squished it. Do you remember that? I hated you then. I hated you, and I hated Megan. But I couldn't hate you for long.'
She kept trying to catch his attention, telling him things she did that she thought would make him proud of her. She wanted him to love her like he used to, when there was just the two of them, and no Megan.
'Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that I miss you a lot. I wish you would write back sometime. I haven't gotten a single letter from you yet. But Mama says you're really busy where you are. I hope you'd write to me when you have time, though. I'll be waiting.
She folded the paper neatly into thirds, and slotted it into a violet envelope.
"Lily, it's time to go to school!" Her mother called.
"I'm coming!" She grabbed her school bag and ran downstairs, careful not to crush the letter in her hand.
"Mama, can you please send this letter to Riley for me?" Ten-year-old Lily looked up at her mother with pleading eyes, and a hopeful smile. She couldn't help but realise just how much Lily had started to resemble her son.
"Of course dear, I'll send it after you get to school." After she dropped Lily off, she drove for miles, to where she knew her son would be.
"Hi Riley, sweetheart," she said softly. "Lily really misses you. She wrote you another letter."
She placed the violet envelope on the grave, next to six other brightly coloured ones.