The first time I wrote to him was a total mistake, the letter wasn't even for him, and yet he replied.
Ethan and I had been best friends since we were nine when he'd burped in my face and I'd called him a troll amongst many other profanities. We had a small fight, cut short by teachers interfering and were sentenced to the 'tied-together-treatment'. It had been devised by our headteacher who assumed that the best way to solve a disagreement between two children was to force them to stay together for the duration of a week.
At first it had been horrible, but soon enough we learnt to compromise and rather reluctantly accepted each other's presences. Over time we became 'tied-together' and were known to be inseparable.
Ethan had always had the same jet black hair and crooked nose. I used to think that it ruined the beauty of his face but after so many years of seeing his face, I couldn't imagine any other nose on him. He had a lean frame and though you couldn't see it straight away, he was muscular. He wasn't burly but his appearance gave him an advantage; he was definitely stronger than he looked.I found out the hard way after challenging him to an arm wrestle and regretting it for hours after.
His parents had always had a rocky relationship and had only stayed together for his sake. They wanted to give him a 'proper childhood' that wouldn't cause him greivances in later life due to his broken family background. When he turned seventeen they both called it quits and ended their long-suffering relationship. When Ethan's parents divorced, his mum decided it was time for a change of scenery and she elected to move hundreds of miles away, taking her only son with her.
At first he resisted and I encouraged him to do so, but soon enough we both realised how damaged she had become from forcing herself to stay in a marriage with a man she no longer loved for thirteen years. She had become miserable and desolate, and seeing his mum's willingness to give up life itself, Ethan moved away to give her a new lease of life.
I didn't cry when the time came for them to leave, I just clung to Ethan and made him promise that he'd come back and visit regularly. He had nodded and repeatedly told me that yes, he would come back. Just for me.
'Do you promise to come as often as you can?'
'For the tenth time, I'm coming back in a few weeks.'
'You won't forget me will you?'
'I'm kidding! Like a wise man once said, how can you forget someone who gave you so much to remember? I'm going to miss that stupid vanilla scented cream that you always put on, the one you always smell of, I'm going to miss the way your laugh turns in to a cackle when you're laughing too hard, and I'm going to miss having someone around to call me Troll.' He pushed me away slightly and studied my face.
'I'll never forget how such an ugly duckling turned into a swan, how you had to dye your hair from purple to brown because it didn't match the school uniform or even how you begged me to get you a charm bracelet for your twelfth birthday, before I even had pocket money for myself.'
I laughed and found myself slightly surprised that he'd remembered that last detail and moved to hug him one last time when he pulled out a flat box. It was tied with an aqua coloured ribbon and I looked up at Ethan questioningly. He placed it carefully in my open palm and I opened it to find a silver charm bracelet sat in the middle of the box. It already had six charms on it and I looked at each one in turn.
There was a carousel, a troll, a J, an owl, a jigsaw piece, a venetian mask, a crown, and my personal favourite, Chip the cup from beauty and the beast. I screamed in delight and flung my arms around his neck and promised him I'd never take it off.