Rocky watched silently as Adam finished packing his car. "I guess this is it." He said quietly.
"Yeah." Adam replied. They both looked around, awkward despite their 15-year friendship. "I guess it is. I'll email and call and stuff." The Asian teen added.
"I know." But Rocky knew what Adam didn't yet realize. He knew his best friend and he knew that they would grow apart. That being two states away would limit the time they saw each other and calls and emails just wouldn't be enough in time. They would be less and less frequent until one day they would stop and they would both wonder when their friendship died.
But he couldn't say that. He couldn't, no wouldn't, destroy Adam's dream, no matter what it would do to him. "I know you will, man. We'll see each other when you come home too."
"Yeah." Adam answered. His eyes were shining with excitement but Rocky could see the fear in them. His best friend was moving very far away, and as much as Adam had opened up in the years that Rocky had known him, the ex-Green Ranger was still a very shy person. "Of course we will."
"You better get going." Rocky whispered, trying hard to keep the husky tone out of his voice.
"Yeah, I should. I'll call when I get in. Tell you all about Washington and my roommate."
Rocky dredged up a smile. "I can't wait. Just remember not to take any crap from him. Have a great time, you'll do great."
Adam stepped forward and drew his best friend into a hug. "Man, I'm going to miss you, Rocko." He whispered, and Rocky could hear the tears in his voice.
"Me too." He replied.
Rocky stood at the edge of the Park's driveway and watched as Adam drove out of sight and out of his life. He sighed. He could remember when they had everything planned out. In his mind's eye he could still see him and his best friend playing on the old play equipment at Quarry Park.
*"Hey Adam! What's wrong?"
"Gabe left for college today." Adam replied, as he hung his head.
"Yeah? That's cool. Mom says that college is the best!"
"Not for me! Gabe's going to UCLA. He's not gonna want to hang with me anymore."
"Hey, when we get big enough to go to college, we'll go together and be roommates. We'll take the same classes and open a dojo together."
Adam perked up at that. "Really?"
"Sure. That's what best friends are for."*
Rocky sighed and started to walk back to his apartment. His own apartment and his own dojo. Adam had turned him down when Rocky had given him the opportunity to open it with him. He didn't blame Adam for turning him down, though it had stung. Adam wasn't interested in owning his own dojo. He wanted to be in show business and Rocky couldn't fault the guy for his dreams. *I just wish they hadn't taken him so far away from me.*
Rocky could still remember the day Adam had told him that he had gotten in to Whitman College. Adam had rushed over to his apartment, only to remember that Rocky was busy teaching classes at his fledging school. He had waited until a tired and extremely bewildered Rocky came home. Then he had proceeded to tell Rocky all about it, not realizing in his excitement that Rocky was less than enthusiastic.
*"So what do you think?" Adam asked finally.
Rocky just stared at him. "Is...is this where you want to go?" He asked. Please don't want to go there. Please! But he knew it wasn't the case. He could see it in his best friend's eyes.
"Yeah. This is a great school, Rocky. They have a great drama program and even a director's program. With my little experience over the summer and now getting into this program, I know I can make it. I know it'll be hard, but what do you think?"
"I think you should do it." Rocky said, getting the words past his throat. It was the hardest lie he'd ever had to say.*
"Why did I tell him that?" Rocky moaned as he flopped down on his couch. "I should have told him to stay. That I don't want to lose our friendship just because of distance. I know that's what's going to happen. Neither one of us will want it to happen, but it will. We'll just fade away until we're little more than polite acquaintances that see each other only when circumstances are right."
Rocky knew that it might not happen that way, but he couldn't help but catastrophizing. Everyone that had meant anything to him had left. His dad had died when he was just 10 years old and then his mom had to go back to work to support all of them. All of sudden the support system he had depended on was gone. When he had moved to Angel Grove and was part of the Rangers, he had to deal with Jason, Trini and Zack leaving the country to the Peace Conference, then Kim leaving for Florida and finally his best friend Aisha going to Africa for the rest of her life. Five friends in two and a half years.
And now Adam. He was moving to Washington, and Rocky knew that he wouldn't be coming home until Thanksgiving. That was over two months away, and while they still had the phone and email it wouldn't be the same. He would have to worry about how long he could call and if Adam would be in. Rocky wouldn't have any idea what Adam was talking about when he talked about his new friends. In short, Adam had a whole life that Rocky didn't share now. And that scared him.
"Get a grip, Rocky. He's not going to find another best friend. It's always been you and it will always continue to be you." Rocky told himself sternly, as he got up from the couch and went to the kitchen to get himself some lunch. "It's not like you haven't had a whole life that Adam didn't understand." But it was different and Rocky knew it.