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Three senior men sitting on a bench by the sea | Source: Shutterstock
Three senior men sitting on a bench by the sea | Source: Shutterstock

4 Friends Promise to Reunite in 40 Years, 3 Men Show Up and Find Note Saying, 'I'm Not Coming' – Story of the Day

Roshanak Hannani
Jun 17, 2024
08:12 A.M.

Four best friends were heartbroken to part ways after graduating from high school. So they promised each other that no matter what happened, they'd meet again at the same spot after 40 years. But on the day of the long-awaited reunion, one of their pals didn't show up, and they decided to find out why.

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At Santa Monica beach, as the sun set, four friends, Ben, Todd, Willie, and Karl, were grappling with the reality of their separation after high school graduation. The moment felt bittersweet as they reminisced about prom and the good times, but a cloud hung above their heads: their future was taking them to new places.

Karl revealed he was leaving for Spain, Ben was heading to college in New York, Todd planned to move to Mexico, and only Willie was staying in Los Angeles. Willie then suggested they write down their addresses to keep in touch.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

But staying in touch didn't seem like enough. He also proposed, "How about we meet here every year at Santa Monica beach...at this bench?"

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Karl pursed his lips, "Are you serious, dude? I don't think it's gonna work out...I probably won't be able to afford a plane ticket from Spain to Los Angeles every year."

Ben also expressed uncertainty, mentioning his unpredictable travel plans with his parents.

Realizing annual meetings were impractical, Willie proposed a more long-term plan. "Okay, life is gonna get busier for us, and we won't be able to meet often. I agree! But what if we swear to meet in 40 years over here and on the same day...On June 11, 2017? I'm sure we can do that! What da ya think?"

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pixabay

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pixabay

The idea initially seemed absurd. Ben joked, "You kidding, man? You want us to meet after forty years...after a lifetime of experiences and adventures? Please tell me it was a joke!"

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Karl questioned Willie's choice of 40 years, doubting that they would even remember that date by then. But despite the initial laughter and skepticism, the boys finally agreed to their friend's proposal.

"Guys, don't forget. We're meeting over here on June 11, 2017, at 5 p.m. sharp!" Willie reminded them.

The thought of their reunion lightened their hearts as they had something to look forward to in the vast and uncertain horizon of the future. As the friends parted ways, they hugged each other tightly and cried, feeling the weight of their separation.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pixabay

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pixabay

Forty years passed, and the friends were busy with their own lives in different corners of the world. Willie had founded an IT company in Silicon Valley. Todd retired from sailing and took up his late father's bait shop in Mexico. Meanwhile, Ben was one of the most acclaimed lawyers in New York. They were all married and were swimming in children and grandchildren.

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They stayed in touch and met occasionally, but Karl's whereabouts became a mystery. His responses to letters and, eventually, texts and emails ceased, leaving the rest puzzled.

"Is Karl alright?" Ben asked Willie during a call, expressing concern over Karl's silence. Willie shared his unsuccessful attempts to meet Karl in Paris and Spain, suspecting their friend might be avoiding him.

As the long-awaited reunion date approached, Willie's attempts to reach Karl were met with voicemail and no return calls. Emails remained unanswered. However, they all still hoped Karl would show up.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

The day of their dreams finally arrived, and Willie was standing at Santa Monica beach, staring at the golden rays of the setting sun piercing through the orange-tinged clouds. It reminded him of the evening 40 years ago when they parted ways on this same beach.

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As he waited for his friends to arrive, his mind couldn't help but worry about Karl — the missing piece of their friendship. While in school, Karl was the most curious among the four and would be the first one in all their gatherings.

But that day, something just seemed off when Karl was not there before him. What happened to you, friend? Are you coming? Have you forgotten about the promise we made forty years ago? Willie pondered.

Ben and Todd arrived, and the trio joyfully hugged and patted each other's back. But Karl's absence was keenly felt. "Where's Karl? Did you call him?" Ben inquired. Willie tried calling Karl again but to no avail. They decided to wait a few minutes more.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

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As they strolled through the beach, sharing memories and laughter, the absence of their fourth friend began to overshadow their joy.

So, with a broken heart, Ben, Todd, and Willie marched to their favorite spot on the beach — the old wooden bench where they promised to meet. Just then, Ben's gaze shifted to something fluttering on the bench.

"Guys, what is that?" he alerted the other two, pointing at what looked like a note pinned to the wooden bench's armrest. Upon closer inspection, they confirmed it was a note. It read:

"Todd, Ben, Willie, it's me, Karl. I lost all your phone numbers and addresses, so I couldn't contact you. I'm sorry for that. I arranged for someone to deliver this message to you. I hope you're all fine and happy. I'm sorry we couldn't meet all these years ago, but remember, I love you more than anything. This may be disappointing, guys. I'm not coming! But I wish you good luck and hope you have a wonderful time at the beach. Don't wait for me. I won't come. I love you, pals. — With Love, Karl."

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

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They all stared at each other with equally confused expressions. Willie spoke first, "Somethin's not right here...If Karl wanted to reach out to us, why would he leave a note? Why didn't he just call any of us?"

Ben and Todd were also concerned, speculating that something serious might be wrong. Willie suggested visiting Andrew, Karl's nephew, who was the only relative their friend had left in Los Angeles.

***

At Andrew's house, they were surprised to learn he had left the note at the beach on Karl's behalf. "My uncle gave me this note when I visited him last summer. He told me to pin it to the bench on Santa Monica beach on June 11, 2017, without fail," Andrew explained.

Willie wondered if they could have his address in Spain, and the others talked about being worried that their most ambitious friend couldn't come to meet them. They had even been told that Karl had created a million-dollar company and was probably too busy running it.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

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Out of the blue, Andrew started laughing. "Uncle Karl doesn't even have money for a plane ticket to Los Angeles...How can he afford a million-dollar business? Good joke!!"

The revelation worried them even more, and they convinced Andrew to share his uncle's address in Spain. Ben, Willie, and Todd all cleared their schedules and booked plane tickets, wondering what they would find on the other side of the pond.

Upon arriving in Spain, they immediately went to Karl's house, only to find it locked and seemingly abandoned. Determined, Willie led the way by climbing over the gate, followed by Ben and Todd. It was a little hard due to their age, but they managed and knocked on the door, calling out for their friend.

When Karl opened the door, the friends were shocked to see him looking frail, older, and dependent on a crutch. Still, they embraced him tightly, momentarily forgetting their worries and exhaustion.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

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Once inside their friend's modest home, the others couldn't ignore his poor living conditions and physical state. They pressed him for answers, "Karl, what happened to you, pal? Why are you using a crutch? And why did you lie to us that you were rich?"

Karl hung his head. "I don't know what happened to me! I think this is my fate…I think this is what God planned for me," he said tearfully.

He recounted his journey after moving to Spain. His parents died in a car accident back in America, so he didn't have money for college. He started working as a builder to save for his studies, but his girlfriend dumped him when he fell at a construction site and hurt his spine.

Hanging his head, Karl admitted to fabricating stories of success to avoid their pity.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

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Willie reacted first. "You're so STUPID, Karl! How could you even think we'd mock you? That's not what friends are for, you fool. We would've helped you!" he said, outraged.

"Didn't you ever feel like telling us everything? Had you done that, then your life could've been completely different, you jerk...We hate you for this, Karl... We seriously hate you!" Ben stated, covering his mouth to disguise his rage.

Despite their anger, Willie, Ben, and Todd knew they could not leave him like that. So, they immediately hatched a plan to transform Karl's life.

"Pack your bags and be ready, pal! We're leaving for Los Angeles in four days!" Willie announced, with Ben and Todd actually standing to help with packing. Karl openly cried at the offer and their easy forgiveness.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

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"And then to Mexico! I was looking for a nice business partner to help me at my bait shop...So you're going with me after that!" Todd added, smiling broadly.

The friends also planned to fund Karl's surgery in Los Angeles to help him regain mobility. "Guys, I can't believe this! Are you serious?" Karl asked as the tears kept coming.

"What are friends for, dude? A promise once made is a promise that will be kept for a lifetime! Let's go… It's time to return to the life we left behind at the beach 40 years ago!" Willie declared as they shared a tight, manly group hug.

"Now that everything is settled, how about we first pamper ourselves with some wine and a little tour of Spain before flying home?!" Ben suggested, lightening the mood.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

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Karl agreed to be their tour guide, and for the next few days, they explored the little Spanish town Karl called home together, telling nostalgic stories and enjoying each other's company.

But Willie stopped them right before boarding the plane to Los Angeles. "We should meet every June 11 at Santa Monica, at the same bench, until God calls us, okay?" he proposed. "And no matter what, no more secrets between us…and no more lies, deal?"

"We promise!" they all swore, joining their arms in a huddle, proving that friendship doesn't have an expiration date.

Tell us what you think, and share this story with your friends. It might inspire them and brighten their day.

A woman searches for her biological parents and finds no luck until meeting a man at the nursing home where she works. Little did she know she was about to unravel more than she'd ever wanted to know. Click here to read the full story.

This piece is inspired by stories from the everyday lives of our readers and written by a professional writer. Any resemblance to actual names or locations is purely coincidental. All images are for illustration purposes only. Share your story with us; maybe it will change someone's life. If you would like to share your story, please send it to info@amomama.com.

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