See, this wasn't supposed to happen. We were fine. I, was more than fine. I had grown up and grown old, not a whole lot but just enough to feel comfortable in the normal everyday task of making a living. I had a job I loved, and a nice apartment in a town that never heard of a hellmouth. I was done poking at what goes bump in the night, and admittedly, I didn't miss it much. I still had all of my friends, thankfully all alive and well, and they all had jobs and lives of their own. I had a dog, and a nice car. I wore clothes that made me look my age, I had an assistant, and I didn't have to wear a tie, or go to any office five days a week. I was turning thirty in two years, and
I was doing good. Really good.
This train of thought lead me to look up and at what I could see of my apartment from where I stood by the kitchen doorway. Bright. Mostly white. Walls covered with framed photographs, my work, my livelihood. Bookshelves ready to collapse from the weight of books and hundreds of photo magazines collected over the years. Momentos, here and there, of travels, of people, of times passed. A comfy, well worn couch. Hardwood floor scratched by the dog's nails. Prints and negs and equipment covering most flat surfaces. And, it smelled good. It smelled like home.
That bit of observation over with, my gaze returned, hesitant, to the letter I still held in both hands. Thoughts, trivial, crossed my mind randomly. How not ten minutes ago I had picked up this letter along with a half dozen other pieces of mail, coming home from an assignment with about my weight in equipment slung around my shoulder. How I had dropped off most of it in the darkroom before coming back to listen to my voice mail in the kitchen. How I had reached in the fridge and grabbed a beer, tossing junk mail around as I had listened to the disembodied voice of Sarah - the assistant - detailing certain going-ons I apparently needed to be aware of. How Bosco had slalomed between my legs excitedly, happy to have me home. How I had been halfway towards the livingroom when I noticed the last piece of mail I had kept in my hand. Handwritten, with a return address I did not recognize. Had ripped the white enveloppe open without much care, half expecting a cleverly disguised ad from someone wanting to do something to my carpet for an amazingly low price. Instead, I got eight years crashing back into me, and he signed it, "Spike".