Friends

Friends

A Story by Jasmine Thousand
"

Sometimes you just can't get any better than IMAGINARY.

"

Friends

    Four years ago, I said goodbye to the only friend I’d ever had. Her name was Lily Were, and she was exactly my height and my age. She was beautiful in an unconventional sense, with large sapphire eyes and a sharp nose, pale skin and black hair that reached her waist. Lily was a classic princess to me, and I both respected her and envied her. I was the only one who ever saw her though, and so she went with me from place to place, she was with me on my birthday, outside when I was being punished, and pretty much everywhere in between. Not that those mattered much: she was with me at the important times, and that was what counted. She was there when I lost my favorite cat and was with me when I got a perfect score on the SATs.

     I was not quite the opposite yet not quite the same. I had the same elegance (having attended ballet classes since the age of five) with ash brown hair and dark eyes that never showed any emotion at all, just eternally shocked. People had said I was pretty before, but I could never see it, and so had never figured out if they were simply telling white lies or were disillusioned by their ideals of flawless skin and symmetry. I didn’t feel pretty. I felt like a mess of thoughts and emotions, of swirls of temper and of pain.

     Regardless of beauty, I was still the social outcast, twelve years old and mixed with teenagers three or four years older. Perfect test scores had placed me with them, but even I knew I didn’t fit in with them. Tests didn’t test emotional maturity, and just as I realized that I didn’t fit in with them due to my childish, often over-romanticized thinking, they realized the same. I was shunned, the lone girl who brought it all on herself. The one who worse long skirts to be unique yet hated feeling different, the one who wrote stories about different lives while other girls made those lives for themselves.

     Lily was the only constant in my life. She was a perfect mixture of contradiction and similarity, patiently critiquing everything I wrote with something not quite harshness yet not quite pleasantness. She herself wore whatever she felt like, be it jeans or gossamer dresses, with utterly no care of how others would see her.

     Not that I would judge her. I hoped- sometimes I felt I didn’t know myself. But I wished I had her courage, I wished I was her, the perfect character in my life. If only I were a figment of someone else’s imagination, if only Lily were not an imaginary friend.

     “It’s right here.” Lily was saying, in a half-sing-song voice. She picked up the china doll up from the floor, where its bright violet eyes gazed unseeingly from behind a tall bookcase.

     “Oops! Can’t believe I missed it. Thanks, Li!” I said.

     Lily preferred to be called Li, but she had given in after I had protested for days that it didn’t fit her at all. But when I was really, especially happy with her, I’d give in and say “Li”. She held no such qualms about calling me by my nickname- Virginia, as opposed to my given name Victoria. She understood the need to have a nickname in the make-believe world, so as to truly forget reality and escape.

    I took the doll and put it carefully in my backpack. I was already dressed in a navy blue school uniform, white stockings and black oxfords. We didn’t actually have a uniform- but oh well. I wasn’t going to wear what was considered “normal” clothes. What defined “normal” anyway? With all that I head the kids I considered “normal” yelling out how weird they were, sometimes I wondered whether perhaps it’s better to be crazy and not worry about a thing.

    I wish I could, at least, but words hurt far worse than sticks and stones to me.

     And yet I kept provoking it.

     “Victoria! It’s time to go, c’mon, hurry up!” Mum was calling in the same voice she always used to talk to me. Bland happiness, until she got angry. It was rather funny to see the differences sometimes. Well. It wouldn’t do to dwell on that now.

     “Come on, time to go.” I mumbled to Lily, wiping my hands down my face in an effort to wake myself up a bit more.

      We half-ran down the stairs and I speed ate my breakfast before grabbing my lunch. I glanced at the clock-

 

Oh.

 

Oh..

 

     I backtracked into the kitchen.

     “Mum, is today a special day at all?” I asked, keeping the nervousness out of my question.

     “No, not that I know of. Why?”

     “No reason! Just had a thought.” I smiled, and ran back out quickly. Lily was waiting on the front porch.

      “Happy twelfth birthday, Virginia.” Lily said softly.

     “Happy twelfth birthday, Li.” I whispered back, looking at the clasp of my shoes.

 

     When I was in third grade, my teachers discovered my eidetic memory. I was pulled from my cozy tight-knit group of friends and set among people four years my elder. I was made an outcast among people I wanted to become like. It killed me a little to realize that I’d never be like them, I’d never get to have the picturesque normality they seemed to enjoy. I hadn’t wanted the switch, not one bit. But it was not my decision, it was the choice of one girl against the whole school. Even my friends told me to go. They looked at me differently now, their words laced with edges of jealousy that spoke of parents whispering in their minds, why can’t you be more like Victoria? If only…

      And so I had left. There might as well be some people happy, even if I ended up hating my life. But when the loneliness seemed a bit too much, it was easy to fancy myself a friend. She had skipped three grades, wrote stories, and most importantly, knew me well enough to love me unconditionally. She alone understood me. Her name was Lily Were, and from that day on, she was my best friend.

 

     “Who knows the answer?” Mr. Robin asked, his deep voice laced with hidden malice. “Nobody?” he questioned, his eyes falling on me.

     As a matter of fact, I did. But I had long since learned to give other students a chance.

     Basically, I had learned to shut up and take it.

     He came over to my desk in three long strides, tapping his ruler on the floor.

     “Do you happen to know it, Miss Virginia?” He asked, his voice lilting in a sneer.

     “No…” I replied, trying to keep my voice steady. Drat. Why couldn’t I lie as easily as most other people?

    The class sniggered happily at my predicament, the girls putting polished hands in front of their mouths as they giggled, the boys outright roaring.

     Lily put her hand on mine, a calm touch pinning me to the real world.

     “You don’t know the answer, Virginia, you don’t…” she said quietly.

     “I don’t know the answer.” I repeated my eyes blank and unfocused as I stared unblinkingly at the spot behind him.

     Mr. Robins glared at me one last time, checking for the signs of a lie before walking back to the board.

    “Since apparently none of you are smart enough to solve it”- here the class immediately stopped laughing- “The answer is 8902 mile.”

      He had hated me since the moment he realized that I was breezing through school and his daughter was failing it. His daughter, needless to say, was not one of my favorite companions.

 

     Next period was Literature, my favorite class, and as we were to be writing today, I was positively jumping with joy! Lily just said I was hysterical though, but I didn’t let this spoil my mood. Mrs. Waters greeted me when we went in.

“Hi Victoria!” she smiled warmly.

When we got settled down Mrs. Waters announced the subject of today’s writing: Dramatic Fantasy. The boys groaned, the girls sighed. While there were a few others in my class who also enjoyed writing, they didn’t say anything and instead kept quiet. Besides, to most of the boys writing about fantasy was a waste of time that could be spent playing sports. Mrs. Waters simply chuckled and handed our sheets of paper out, and set the timer to one hour. Soon the world of my creation overtook my mind, seeping in through my pen and paper. The beep beep came much too fast.

     At the end of class Mrs. Waters collected the papers and winked at me. Lily smiled to me again and squeezed my hand.

   “Mrs. Waters is so very nice!” Lily said a sparkle in her eyes. I smiled at this.

   “But you’re the nicest friend.”

     Lily just smiled at me again, but there was something else in those dark blue eyes- something sad, wistful lurking there.

I didn’t comment on it.

 

     After Lily’s creation, the next few days were much happier to me. When I was taking a test in Pre-Calculus and had somehow managed to forget everything despite my memory, Lily smile and told me the answer. I could never figure out how someone who was essentially party of me could wash dishes while I did homework and answer questions I didn’t understand, but that didn’t bother me too much. I finally had a true friend, and that was enough.

     One morning in mid-October, when I stayed inside Mrs. Water’s class reading Anne Karenina during lunch, I asked Lily what she thought of the main character. The conversation followed, and I didn’t notice my teacher watching until she asked “Victoria, who are you talking to?”

     We both started at that, having forgotten she was in the room, too wrapped up in ourselves. Dread began to pool in the bottom of my stomach- what could I say, I just need to make her understand, just make her understandunderstandunderstand.

     “Tell her the truth.” Lily whispered, her voice calm as she squeezed my hand slightly.

     So I did, and it spilled out so quickly, the entire story and Mrs. Waters understood perfectly. She told me once she had an imaginary friend as well.

     When she stepped out to make a call, I tried not to worry that she’d typed in my mother’s number.

    

     “Did you do ballet today?” Mother was asking. I had never really liked it. It was what my mum preferred hobby, not mine. I’d never told her this though. I didn’t wish to hurt her feelings.

     "No- I forgot..." I replied.

     "You didn't forget, Victoria. You did it on purpose."

      As a matter of fact I hadn't. I had done it myself, in my bedroom. I'd learned a new part in Swan Lake. As if Mom would believe me.

     "Go do it now. And don't come up till you're done!"

     So that was how I ended up not sleeping till 3 o'clock in the morning. But I don't regret it. Lily taught me a new step, and we made our own dance routine, calling it Jewels. There was, however, one downside to this. When I finally came upstairs Mom thought I had been playing on my IPod and confiscated it. Then she sent me outside to sleep.

     I'm sure Mr. Robin will yell at me for falling asleep in class tomorrow. High school does begin at 7:30, and I had about four hours to sleep, and in the cold too. Lily slept outside as well though. She always did, she said she loved the moonlight and the breeze. I enjoyed these too, but from inside the warmth of my home.

 

 

      Lily wasn't just there one day. She required careful planning. I had to imagine precisely how she looked, the I had to fool myself into believing she was real. After she appeared to me, slowly becoming solid, I had to invent her personality, her clothes. I gave her the life I wished I had. Except for a few differences such as making her a "giant" in height and a "freak" in mental capability. I had to make herself understand me as well, anyway. But, unlike me, Lily wasn't bothered by these things. At least nobody said anything to her. Oh, to be a figment of someone else's imagination!

 

 

Sure enough, I fell asleep in Mr. Robin's class the next day. As punishment he gave me a C in a test whereas I should've gotten an A. He also kept me inside when everybody else was outside playing. If it had been with Mrs. Waters I wouldn't have minded.

Lily, however, began telling jokes.

"Do you know what a muse is?" she asked.

"No..." I whispered out of the corner of my mouth, so Mr. Robin wouldn't hear. "What is it?"

"Well, your muse died." Lily said, aggravatingly.

"What's a muse though?" I asked, confused now.

"Inspiration. A muse is something like inspiration." Lily smiled.

"Well, that's great. My inspiration died. Maybe I should just like give up writing stories. I mean there's no point anymore, right?" I said sarcastically.

Lily laughed, till tears squeezed out of her eyes. I couldn't help it. I laughed too. Sharply Mr. Robins stopped and turned around.

"Anything funny Miss Virginia?" he scowled condescendingly.

The laughter died on my lips.

"No, sir."

"You'll be staying after school too."

Mom won't be happy.

 

 

 

She wasn't happy. Not one bit. She yelled at me, saying I couldn't do anything right, I wasn't good at anything, I didn't have any talents. And for the first time in my life, she called me ugly.

The only thing that my mom had ever liked about me was that I was pretty. She smiled at me when I looked nice, complimenting me. Now, for the first time in my life, she said I was ugly. I didn't cry then, and I didn’t cry later. Even so, Lily comforted me. Friends are the best things on earth.

 

Three months passed, the happiest months of my life. Mrs Waters critiqued my writing, and Lily was the best friend I'd ever had. One day, however, it all came crashing down on my shoulders.

"Why don't you go over to Amy's anymore?" my mom asked.

One reason was because Lily didn't like it. Another-

"She told me she's in 10th grade like me." I muttered.

"Yes, and..." Mom prompted when I didn't speak.

"She doesn't go to school. She's 12 and in FOURTH grade, Mom. Not because she's stupid or anything, but she simply doesn't go to school. She stays home all day fooling around."

"It’s not as if you don’t do the same, Victoria. But still, you need a friend. You said all of your former friends got jealous, and Amy isn't."

As a matter of fact, I hadn't said they got jealous. More like I was jealous of them. Why couldn't I be normal?

"I have Lily. She's my best friend." I ran out the door before Mom could ask who Lily was. But Mom followed me outside.

"Victoria, is Lily-just part of your imagination?"

Lily looked stricken. Stricken was how I felt.

"How did you kn-know?" I stammered in reply. From the look in her eyes, Mom knew that meant yes.

"Victoria, we're going somewhere."

 

So Lily and I ended up in a big, tall, building that denounced psychologist names in golden letterings on the doors.

"Victoria Tonson?" the clerk called.

I looked up, then to Lily, who was as white as a sheet, then to Mom, who nodded and whispered, "Go on, dear. Nothing to be afraid of.”

We went in. The room was painted white; there was a couch-like chair in one corner, two more coffee colored couches in front of a tall black desk. Behind the desk was a tall woman with her blonde hair pulled into a tight ponytail at the back of her head. Her green eyes glinted.

"Please sit down." she said, gesturing to the chairs.

Lily sat on the couch in the corner, so I sat with my mom on the ones facing the desk.

"I'm Ms. Pinkle. And you are?" she said, talking to me.

"Virginia." Mom let out a sigh.

"Your paper says Victoria though, Virginia."

"I prefer Virginia."

"So why are you here, Virginia?"

I wasn't sure if I liked this Ms. Pinkle, and refused to say anything. Finally Mom spoke up for me.

"She has an imaginary friend. I heard you're the best at getting rid of them."

"Yes, imaginary friends are annoying little pests. It is best to get rid of them as soon as possible." Ms. Pinkle said authoritively.

I was sure I didn't like her now. Lily looked pale.

"She's not a bug or something. She's a person, Ms. Pinkle." I felt my face grow red with anger.

"Yes, of course my dear." She replied, blowing me off, and instead turned to face my mom. "We'll begin now." She turned to face me again.

 

"Lily does not exist, Victoria. Virginia is simply a fake identity, so you won't mind if I call you Victoria, right?"

I wondered how she found out Lily's name. I didn't reply, instead I turned around to face Lily. She seemed blurry somehow, faded like an old tape, her edges fuzzy.

"LILY DOES NOT EXIST, Victoria!"

Lily faded. She was crying, crying for the first time in all the time I’d known her. And it was scaring me.

"STOP IT!" I shouted back at Pinkle, frantic. “STOP, PLEASE!”

"THERE IS NO LILY. YOU DO NOT HAVE A FRIEND NAMED LILY. SHE IS SIMPLY, simply, NO MORE THAN A FRAGMENT OF YOUR IMAGINATION." Ms. Pinkle said sternly, eyes glinting as she yelled.

Lily was disappearing, a little by little, only her brilliant blue eyes remaining in shock, brimming with tears, till finally those faded away as well.

"No-no-no! LILY!"

Lily was gone.

The only friend I had ever had was gone, and it was my own mother’s fault.

I walked out the door, slamming it behind me.

The only thing I remember of the rest of the two years was Mrs. Waters' death. She had died of a heart attack two weeks after Lily died. I was mentioned in Mrs. Waters' will. She left me a doll, a delicate doll with pink cheeks and blue sapphire eyes and long ebony hair. There had been a name tied to her wrist, the not read, in Mrs. Waters' curling handwriting, Lily.

The next three years passed in a blur of coloursthoughtsfragmentsdeath. Sometimes, it would become all a little too much, and I would whisper under my breath, sixteen sixteen sixteen. A promise. A promise.

I'd made my plan.

 

I dressed in the outfit Mom had always wanted me to wear- jeans, a white top with red cherries, and gold sandals. I painted my fingernails blood red, curled my hair and put on makeup. When I looked in the mirror, for the first time in my life I felt normal and I saw the beauty that others sometime complimented me on.

If one person talked to me. If one person smiled at me. One, and I wouldn’t do it.

No one did.

 

Mum will be back at six, so I have time.

I collected my doll and all my writings in a neat little pile. Then I went to my desk and wrote a note, taking care and time as I treasured the last time my fingers would touch a pen…a paper…the last time my thoughts would form themselves into words.

Mother and Father-

Don't worry too much about me. I'll be fine. I love you.

I suppose I could explain why I did this, I suppose I could try to help you understand. But really, it’s not one thing, it’s a multitude. It’s Lily, it’s school, it’s you, it’s life.

I don’t particularly care what you do with the doll and stories: bury them or burn them, like me.

Victoria Tonson,

Your daughter, the way you preciously raised her.

 

     I carefully placed the note, doll and packet of stories in the box, letting my fingers brush against them in a silent caress of a goodbye.

      I took my CD player and set it to play some music. Franz Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony.

And I carefully opened the bottle, trying not to let my fingers shake as I swallowed one and two and threeandfourandfive and six and seven andeightandnineandten and eleven and twelve and

     The world blurred in red and gold. Remarkably pretty, really, in the haze of death.

 

Maybe I’ll have friends wherever I’m going.


© 2013 Jasmine Thousand



Author's Note

Jasmine Thousand
Because sometimes real friends can't be there for you.

Write a story contest- First prize!
Awarded 2nd in the Alone contest.
Awarded 8 in the best piece of writing contest.
Awarded Condragulations i died reading something good and started a new life readin something good in the Show Me What You Got!! writing contest (1st place)
Awarded Overall Best in the Depressed contest.


My Review

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Featured Review

I never reallt liked ballet: reallt is really
She required carefull planning: carefull is careful
in golden letterings on the doors: letterings is lettering's
The only thing I remeber: remeber is remember
set it toplay Lady Antebellum songs: toplay is to play
Except for those mistakes the story was great and sad. :(
100/100 :)


This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Jasmine Thousand

5 Years Ago

Thank you for your review! ^_^
Katerina

5 Years Ago

You're welcome! :)



Reviews

Wow... This story is just amazing.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 4 Years Ago


Jasmine Thousand

4 Years Ago

Thanks for your review! :)
I never reallt liked ballet: reallt is really
She required carefull planning: carefull is careful
in golden letterings on the doors: letterings is lettering's
The only thing I remeber: remeber is remember
set it toplay Lady Antebellum songs: toplay is to play
Except for those mistakes the story was great and sad. :(
100/100 :)


This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Jasmine Thousand

5 Years Ago

Thank you for your review! ^_^
Katerina

5 Years Ago

You're welcome! :)
I think you went better than imaginary

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Amazing... Poor Virginia,the story was so well written and had a really good flow. All in all 100/100 wish I could give more though.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

this story was awesome... it's so, so very sad and moving - I almost cried in the end. I loved all your description, and your dialogue, too... the words just flow out naturally and realistically. Just as all your stories do, this one drew me right in and kept me there until the end! the way that you concluded the story, with her death, left me completely amazed. wonderful job! and by the way, congratulations on all your contest victories! :D this story seriously deserves it. good job! *100*

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

This is so sad...poor Virginia! I nearly cried at the end. I was very moved by this. I flowed perfectly and had a realistic feel. This is 100/100! Well done, you are an amazing author.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


Let it be known I was very moved by this story, and I usually don't even like stories much. So you have to put this award now in the author's note too! xD

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I loved this:) It is so beautifully written and expresses friendship and how important it is. I was almost crying by the end, which is rare for me to do. Great job!

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

This is so sad...and I loved that part of the "muse" in the middle. A little laugh in an overall sad piece. :'( Made me cry.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Shelved in 4 Libraries
Added on November 10, 2011
Last Updated on November 2, 2013
Tags: imaginary, friends, come, true, if, you, believe, short, fantasy, realistic, fiction, story, outcast, in, society, social, sad, sorrow, sometimes, can, not, get, any, better, than
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Jasmine Thousand
Jasmine Thousand

At the barricade, CA



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You see, deep down I've always believed people were truly good at heart. more..

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