For eight years, Jane and I were inseparable best friends. We met when I showed up at her house one day for a play date. She was too young to remember, but I do. It was hard to forget how her biggest stuffed bear was shredded to pieces, making it look like it had snowed in her bubblegum pink room. She was devastated until I helped her create a snow angel out of the stuffing. The two of us spent everyday together after our meeting. She shared just about everything with me. When she had a hard time, I would be there for her in the blink of an eye. At her house, we would play dolls, read all of her favorite books together, but my favorite was when we played tea parties. When she started going to school, I would set up a tea party and wait impatiently for her to get home. Whenever she walked in the door, I could hear her backpack drop to the floor, she would briefly greet her dad with a hug, then run up to her room to play with me. Occasionally, she would bring a friend to play with us too. It was our constant routine throughout all of first grade, then second, and part of the third. However, one day, she didn’t run up the stairs. I sat and waited for an hour before peeking around the corner of the door frame. From the door, there was a clear view of the living room at the bottom of the stairs. She sat on the couch watching my favorite show without me. When she saw me, it was as if she had forgotten about me, like she had to process in her brain who I was and why I was in her house. When it did process, she immediately jumped up and met me at the tea table. “Would you like some more tea Mr. Bear?” She asked the little stuffed bear sitting next to me as if nothing strange had just occurred. I stared at the little brown, button-eyed bear slouched on the little pink chair beside me. I realized Jane would always be able to play with Mr. Bear, but not me. I felt myself fading from Jane’s thoughts.
It wasn’t going to be long before I would become just another childhood fad to her. Before I could truly be forgotten, I said my goodbyes to her and Mr. Bear. I also told Mr. Bear to take care of my bestest friend, Jane, then I disappeared from Jane’s thoughts completely. It was only to be expected. I was only the imaginary friend, after all.
I never expected to go back. The thought of seeing Jane all grown up scared me. Yet down the line, I did find myself back in her house many years later with a new best friend. Her name was Annie. Jane’s daughter.