David and I met in the eighth grade, when he moved to our school from another one in our city in southeastern Virginia. He was my first real boyfriend, but after about a year, came to terms with the fact that he was gay. Though our friendship had some rocky times, he was my dearest friend until he died of AIDS at the age of 27, in 1997.
In the fall of 1991, I met the man who would become my husband, and the three of us, Val, David and I, would sometimes go out for the evening. On one such occasion I brought along some tapes to listen to in David's car. When we got back to my house, David asked if he could borrow my Bronski Beat tape and give it back later. Unfortunately, he lost the tape, which I had kept the case for, and I replaced it with a CD. He never did find it; it was lost somewhere in his car, which he sold soon after.
Fast forward to almost eight years later, not too long after David passed away. My husband and I now lived in Oregon, and had a small son. We'd recently moved into a house of our own, and I was rummaging in the basement, looking for some tapes I was going to pass along to a friend of mine. I came across the case for the tape that David had lost, and pulled it out, intending to toss it.
It rattled, and I thought, "Oh, well, I must have used it to store another tape that didn't have a case." I opened it - and there was the tape that David had lost. Shaken, I went back upstairs, and said to my husband, "David's been here." I showed him the tape, and he shrugged, being very open-minded about the paranormal.
"I guess he felt like he should return it anyway," Val said. "Better late than never, right?"