The prompt was:
You or your best friend will survive, but not both.
The sun’s first rays of the day creep through the window. I tilt my head and offer a thin smile to my best friend standing beside me. “I’m sorry, Susan. But we both knew this day would come.”
“But you’re my best friend,” she says. “We’ve always been together. I can’t go on without you.”
Her pleading breaks my heart, but this has to be done. All I can do is repeat myself for the umpteenth time this week. “I’m sorry.”
Susan hugs her favorite stuffed teddy bear and wipes her tears away with his ears. “There really isn’t any other way?”
Shaking my head, I reach out a hand and place it on her shoulder. Her silky hair spills over my fingers; I’ll miss brushing it out for her. Playing with her hair was always one of my favorite evening activities.
Footsteps in the hall grab my attention and my heartbeat quickens. It’s almost time. Tears run down my own face now, too, and I pull Susan into a tight embrace. “I’m going to miss you so much. I promise I’ll never forget you!”
“I’ll miss you, too! I’ll always be here if you ever need me.” When I pull back, she shoves her teddy bear into my arms. “Take Mr. Cuddles with you. He can watch over you and remind you of me.”
I grab the bear and tug on his ear, feeling her tears in the faded blue fuzz. “I’ll keep him for always.”
My bedroom door opens and my mother walks in with a smile. “Good morning, sweetie.
Ready for your first day of kindergarten?”
Nodding, I glance at Susan one last time. “I love you,” I whisper. Her lips move as she mouths the words back.
I turn my back and follow my mom out of the room, listening to her talk about all the new friends I’ll make in school. I’m certain none of them will be as wonderful as my Susan, but imaginary friends are for children, and I have to be a big girl now.
Author’s note: I have to admit, when I wrote this, I had my own childhood imaginary friend in mind. Her name was Amy. After writing this, I expanded it and altered it to fit my own childhood. The finished product is being submitted to a short story anthology. 🙂