Imagine | Teen Ink

Imagine

November 20, 2018
By Anonymous

Out of all the things I have learned in my life, I know that everyone has a best friend. Best friends do everything together like tell each other secrets, get in trouble together, and stay best friends for their entire life. My name is Arthur, kind of like the children’s TV show where Arthur is the aardvark animal thing (no one really knows what kind of animal he is). My best friend is Jeremy and I have known him my entire life. We spend time together every day and I don't think there’s a day I spent without him. I know all of Jeremy’s secrets and everything about him just like how he knows everything about me. However, we both are only seven years old so there really is not much to know.

Yesterday, Jeremy and I were playing Pokemon together and realized that it’s almost the end of second grade. He spoke of getting older and it really scared me. Why would anyone want to grow up? What does that even mean?

“You know that my seventh birthday is coming soon, right?” Jeremy said blatantly.

I thought a little bit and realized that his birthday was in just two and a half weeks so I assumed it was time to start thinking of birthday ideas. Jeremy always had the best birthday parties out of everyone I know; last year he took me and his friends to the carnival and we went on every ride, the year before we had a two-day sleepover and watched movies all day.

“Yes, it is soon!” I said excitedly, “I think this year we should go bowling for your birthday. Everyone goes bowling for their birthday, but I have never been.”

“Well yes that would be fun, but I think I will just stay home and spend time with my family. I am almost seven years old now which means that I need to start acting older and mature, like my parents.”

I was confused by this “stay at home idea”. What does that mean? No bowling? Not even a pizza party? He can’t be serious.

“You have got to be kidding me, Jeremy,” I said sighing in disbelief.

“No, I am not! I think it’s important to spend time with family and have a small birthday party.”

I was shocked. He can’t just stay home. That is such a boring idea because then I’ll have to sit at home with him and his family while we do absolutely nothing. The idea sounded like any other day at home: sitting, reading, and probably doing homework.

“Are you sure you don't want to go bowling? It would be so much fun!” I said once more really hoping to convince him.

“Nope!” he replied. “I’m not doing that! I will be seven and family time is more important to me.”

And with that our conversation finished.

✵✵✵

I hope he’s okay. I don’t think it’s normal for an almost seven year old to not do anything their birthday. I personally don’t have big celebrations for my birthday and it’s a little sad. I don’t have many friends to invite to a party, nor do I have time for an actual party. Every year, I spend the day with Jeremy and we go out for ice cream together. Birthday ice cream is definitely my favorite time of the year for me. It's just me, him, and ice cream.

Jeremy is my best friend. As I said before, we do everything together and I don’t know what I would do without him. We talk all the time and have been through it all together for better and for worse. I was there when he bumped into the counter and needed stitches. I was there when he learned how to ride his bike. I was there when he got his first flu shot, opened his Christmas gifts, met his first crush, and when he broke the crayons in preschool. I even helped him convince his mom to get a hamster. I have been there all the time and our connection will never be broken.

I remember the time we went to the summer fair together because it was always the hottest week in July so it’s kind of hard to forget. Jeremy owns a chicken and he enters it into a contest every year. His chicken, Oreo, never won but she was still cute and I think she liked me more than Jeremy. We would drive to the fair in the morning and would be back home far past our bedtime. Jeremy and I would watch after Oreo and go look at all the other friendly animals. Then we would get snow cones with artificial flavoring and french fries with gooey cheese; both being foods we’re never allowed to eat. The rides were ridden all day with lots of other screaming children. The ferris wheel made us think we were on the top of the world, and the spinning bears made us forget all of our problems. There were fireworks every night and we would lie on the ground; just Jeremy and me with our caramel corn watching the stars and wishing time would freeze during that moment.

His birthday is now a day away and I keep thinking about his growing up idea hoping to figure out why he wants to be older so quickly. Even now he still hasn’t made plans with friends and hasn’t talked to me much either, which is very unusual. He hasn’t even told me about what gifts he wants. We are playing Pokemon on his bed as usual where I eventually build up the courage to just ask him why.

“Jeremy,” I say as he plays his video game.

“Yes, Arthur? What is it now?” he says without turning to look at me.

“Why do you want to grow up so badly?” I say with hesitation, but he doesn't reply. It’s as though his thoughts are somewhere else. As I watch him level up his Pokemon, I realize how easy it’s for any person to level up. I guess pokemon level up, and people grow up. His Pokemon keep getting bigger and more powerful, but what is so great about that? I don't want power or superiority. All I need is ice cream, playgrounds, and my friends. Well my only friend, Jeremy.

“Jeremy?” I say again a little louder.

“Sorry, what was that you said, Arthur? I want to grow up because then I will be able to make my own decisions,” he responds without stopping his game. His answer is concise and it’s as though I am no longer in the room. We sit in silence and I wonder why he is disregarding me. Normally we play Pokemon together and talk and laugh together. We catch pokemon together and fight against other pokemon together. Normally it’s a good time, but today it’s different. There is something off about him and it bothers me. It’s as though I am invisible.

“Jeremy? What’s wrong?” I finally say hoping to get a good response with more meaning.

“Arthur, I don’t need you anymore! Tomorrow I will be seven and I have new friends now. I have real friends now! I can do everything on my own and don't need you,” he says aggressively. I think to myself for a minute. Has he replaced me? What will happen to me now that he has grown up and has new friends? Will I just vanish into thin air? But most of all, what if he forgets about me? All these questions spiral into my mind as I think about what will happen to me and all the memories of our friendship.

“But Jeremy,” I say almost in tears, “what will happen to me? Where will I go?”

“I don’t know, Arthur. You are a smart boy and will figure it out. You have been my best friend for seven years and no one in the real world will be as great as you.” he says. I begin to cry and he comes over and hugs me. The feeling of his arms around me is comforting. I try not to be emotional because I know that would only make it hard for him, so I take the small gesture as a final goodbye.

Most people like me don’t make it to age seven so I guess I am quite lucky to have him for so long. Growing up does a lot to a person and I just hope that our friendship was enough for me to not be forgotten. He meant a lot to me, but was I really the friend who deserves to be remembered in his life? Maybe he will have fun and make better friends without me, and maybe he will make better memories with them. Childhood goodbyes are always hard, it is important to not be upset that a friendship is over, but instead, happy it happened. Who knows if I will be remembered or forgotten, for was only a friend in his imagination.


The author's comments:

This piece was inspired by a dream I had very recently. It was a short dream where I was an imaginary friend and I wondered what would happen to me when my real friend grew up and replaced me.


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