Hey Kevin? Thanks…

I sat there on my porch, just enjoying the moonlight reflecting off of the waves as they crashed up against the shore. This view was really the sole reason I bought this place. Malibu really wasn’t my scene. But when I saw the house, how close it was to Lauren’s family, I couldn’t pass it up. Especially this view. I’ve always loved the ocean, not that I’ve ever kept that hidden or anything. It was a little chilly out, it was November after all, but I enjoyed it.

A call from Kevin had me sitting out here, just thinking. Lauren was asleep, it was already past midnight. I waited till now to avoid questions I wasn’t sure I could answer. I’d forgotten all about it till a few hours ago, when he called me. Asked if I’d read it yet. It’d been ten years, how does he always remember shit and I don’t? He’s the old fart; he’s the one who should have had the screwy memory.

But, that’s Kevin for you.

I pulled the paper out of the envelope, remembering back, to when I was twenty-one.

“Fuck you Kevin, it’s easy for you to say this shit ain’t the answer!”

“Easy is it? You know what Nick?! Sit down. Take this pencil.”

“No! I’m an adult, I don’t have to-”

“Then try acting like one! You’ll thank me for this someday.”

I sighed, seeing myself so angry, so high and drunk, and incredibly bitter. I always got that way around holidays. Thanksgiving had been coming up, so Kevin came to check on me. Twenty-one was a bit of a blur when it came to remembering. Twenty-One was a bad year for me. I didn’t have too many good memories of myself at that age. Too much boozing, drugs, surrounding myself with people who only wanted to use me – including my own family, and I just didn’t give a damn about anything. What a waste. I glanced down as I opened up the paper that had miraculously survived the past ten years.

How it did in my care, I’ll never know. But, it did.

Ten Things I’m Thankful For

1. Kevin will leave me alone after this
2. That I’m making my own album
3. I can do what I want
4. I’m away from my parents
5. That I’m a singer and I get to live my dream
6. I’m alive
7. Brian is my best friend Brian before Yoko
8. AJ’s still alive
9. Howie
10. Kevin

A list of things I was thankful for. Sounded cheesy as hell then. Actually it still sounds hella cheesy now too. My list was also pathetic. It had doodles all around it and I knew I’d only written something down so that Kevin would shut up and leave me alone. It’s amazing how much can change in ten years huh?

I shook my head when my eyes fell upon Number Seven. God, was I an idiot about that one. Someday, I need to tell Bri I’m sorry for all the shit that came between us. I know, deep down, that it was my fault. I was completely fucked up, and I blamed it all on Leighanne when Brian didn’t want any part of it. I shoved him away and said it was all her fault. It’s amazing any of them put up with me back then. It did everything I’m sure Kevin wanted. It put everything in perspective, and made me even more thankful about my life now than I already was.

I’ve been lucky. So damn lucky. It just took me forever to realize it.

I flipped the page over, pulled out a pen and wrote the date, the same, except for the year.

Ten Things I’m Thankful For – Part Two
1. That I have someone who loves me unconditionally – Lauren.
2. Everyone in my Backstreet family for being there every time my “real” family fails me.
3. I’m alive and healthy
4. The Backstreet Boys are still together
5. No more Jive!
6. That I got to do my solo album my way
7. That I’ve learned to forgive and move on
8. The fans
9. That I still have ways to challenge myself in my career
10. That I’m happy.

I smiled at myself as I folded it back up and slid it into the envelope. Maybe in another ten years, I’ll be lucky enough to think this list is pathetic, because I’ll have so much more than I have now. For now though, I’m happy with everything I’ve been given. Right now though, I need to make a call. I gotta say something I know I don’t say enough. I wonder if he knows he’s probably the reason I’m still here today. Maybe. Kevin does tend to know everything.

“Hello?”

“Hey Kevin?”

“Yeah?”

“Thanks…for everything.”

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