3 men sitting on park bench facing a large body of water

4 Friends Promise to Meet in 25 Years, 3 Men Show Up and Find Note Saying, ‘I’m Not Coming’ – a Short Story

Time and distance are no boundaries for true friendship. Years can pass and friends can reconnect as if they never left. Plus, they will always be there for each other when the chips are down. In this story, four friends graduating college agreed to meet twenty-five years later. However, when the day came, one didn’t show up. This event was inspired by a reader of AmoMama, where it was originally published. 

Four Close Friends

Stephen, Jensen, Drew, and Ali grew up together. The friend group had formed in kindergarten and had continued through elementary school, high school, and college. Despite their different hobbies and ambitions, the four stayed close. They cheered for Ali at his basketball games, attended all of Stephen’s theater performances, helped Drew take care of his increasing number of pets, and met at Jensen’s almost every week to play video games. But they had just graduated college. They were about to enter the adult world, and for the first time, they were all going in different directions.

They met at Jensen’s for one final video game marathon. Then they went to their favorite pizza restaurant. The owner, John, greeted them. They were regulars and he already knew what they would order. However, this was a more solemn lunch than usual. The friends were quiet, soaking up these last memories together. Stephen was heading to New York to chase his Broadway dreams, Ali was going to play basketball in Serbia, Drew was moving to Canada to take care of his ailing grandfather’s ranch, and Jensen was going to Paris. His girlfriend was getting a job there in fashion and he decided to go with her. He took French as an elective last semester and his friends teased his poor French accent.

What Will Be?

They were all uncertain about the future. Although they made plans to stay in touch, they had a terrible feeling the distance would drive them apart. As they ate pizza, they discussed where they would like to be in five years, ten years, twenty years. Drew and Ali made a bet on whether Stephen would win a Tony in twenty-five years, which gave Jensen an idea. What if they met up here for lunch at the pizzeria in Ohio in exactly twenty-five years?

The friends agreed, clicking their soda cans together. It was an easy date to remember, the fourth of July. But every year, as celebrations for the American Independence day commenced, each friend remembered the meetup in twenty-five years, then twenty-four, then twenty, then fifteen, then ten… They tried to stay in touch, but the time zones got in the way, in addition to jobs, relationships, and eventually children. Their conversations became less and less frequent, eventually going years without talking, but they never forgot the important event on a future fourth of July.

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Twenty-Five Days Later

When the day finally came, Ali was the first to arrive. After playing basketball in Serbia, he moved back to Ohio and became a sports journalist. He lived only an hour’s car drive away from the designated pizzeria. When he walked in, it was like stepping into the past. Nothing has changed, not even John behind the counter. Next came Stephen from New York. He hadn’t won a Tony yet but he had a successful acting career. He greeted Ali as no time had passed. Then came Drew from Montreal, Canada. His grandfather had passed away and Drew had taken over his ranch, where he lived with his spouse and four children.

The three waited for Jensen, but time trickled by and he didn’t show up. The friends were confused. Could he have forgotten? It couldn’t be, it was his idea in the first place, and nostalgia-driven Jensen never forgot an important date. 

Eventually, they decided to order food while they waited. They chatted with John, who remembered them after a little prompting. In fact, John pulled out a letter addressed to the three of them. “I received this a few weeks ago,” he explained. “I didn’t know what to do with it; it’s been sitting under the counter ever since.

The letter was from Jensen. It read: “To Stephen, Ali, and Drew. I’m sorry I’m not able to come today. I couldn’t find the current address or phone number for any of you, and the emails I sent bounced back. So this was the next best thing. I wish I could have seen all of you. I haven’t had the best of luck after moving to Paris. It was much harder to find a job than I expected, and after a few years, Jill broke up with me. I finally got a job at a warehouse but I’m still deep in debt, so I couldn’t afford the plane tickets back to Ohio. I’m doing okay overall. Would like to hear from you.” Enclosed was his current phone number and return address.

Reunited At Last

Drew, Ali, and Stephen were upset by Jensen’s letter. They wished they had stayed in better touch so they could have supported their friend in his time of need. But they agreed, better late than never. On the spot, the three booked a trip to Paris the following month and surprised Jensen at the address he enclosed. 

Reunited at last, the foursome explored the City of Lights and caught up on each other’s lives. When Jensen revealed he felt stuck in life, Drew offered him a job on his ranch. Jensen hesitated but he realized there was nothing for him in Paris. Plus, Montreal was a French-speaking city, which was a perk for him. After living there for several years, Jensen connected with a local startup that created something he was really passionate about: video games. Best of all, the friends stayed in touch, taking turns visiting Ohio, New York, and Montreal and celebrating every success and life achievement together. 

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This story was inspired by an original piece of fiction that first appeared on AmoMama. Any similarities between this story and actual people are purely coincidental.