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Friendship Fiction Kids

“Someone’s going to see you,” Alex whispered. “You keep coming out of the room. This apartment isn’t that big.”

John shrugged, “no one’s going to see me, trust me.”

Alex sighed loudly, “you haven’t met my dad then. He’s going to see you and he’s going to kick you out.”

“Trust me, Alex.”

“Then you have to go home or hide, pick one.”

John sighed, rolling his big brown eyes, “I’ll go.”

“Thank you. You can come by tomorrow.”

“Fine, fine.”

Alex smiled, hugging her friend. “I’ll see you tomorrow.” She stood up off the soft carpet, leaving her room with John inside. She walked down the slim hallway, past the crooked hanging photos. She tried adjusting one, shaking her head when it fell back into position.

Alex peeked around the wall, looking at the empty living room. “Hm.” She toed across the cold floors, hands behind her back innocently as she approached the small kitchen. “Smells good.”

“Mhm, who were you talking to in there?”

Alex gulped, “no one.”

Her mother raised a brow, “Okay, Alex.” She moved around the hotdogs in the pan, shooing her daughter when she came too close. “Stay out of the kitchen while I’m cooking, please.”

Alex took three steps back, standing right outside the kitchen. She appreciated that the kitchen was slightly bigger than the last one. That the cabinets were bigger which meant hide and seek with John was a lot harder.

She turned quickly when she saw her friend trying to sneak into the living room.

“I -I am going to the bathroom!”

Her mother glanced back, “you don’t have to yell, sweetie.”

Alex grinned nervously, running away, grabbing her friend. She shoved him into the bathroom, locking the door behind her. “What are you doing,” she whispered.

“I don’t want to go home yet. It’s boring there.”

“John, they can’t see you. They can’t know I’ve been hiding you here. My dad will be so mad, and my mom will be too!”

“I am so quiet,” he whispered. “Unlike you. You’re yelling.”

Alex took a deep breath, “why did you leave the room then?”

“I smelled hotdogs,” John shrugged. “I can’t be hungry?”

Alex chewed on her thumb, “okay, okay. I will bring you a hotdog. How’s that?”

“Fine. Bring me a hotdog and I will go home. But I’m coming back tomorrow.”

Alex rolled her eyes, “whatever.” She turned off the light, taking a deep breath before leaving the bathroom. “Oh!” She jumped, looking up at her sister. “When did you get home?”

Ana yawned, “five seconds ago.” She dropped her backpack in the thin hallway. “How are you feeling? Still sick?”

“Kind of.” Alex shrugged, “Mom gave me my medicine.”

“You need to start washing your hands more. You’re always getting sick from something.” Ana pointed at her sister’s mouth, “and that cold sore is going to stay there if you keep touching it.”

Alex snorted, folding her arms. “Whatever.”

“I want to shower. Are you planning to block the door?”

“No!”

Ana sighed, picking her bag off the ground. She entered their shared room, “I’m putting my stuff away so finish whatever you’re doing.”

“I was done!” Alex stared at the closed bedroom door, covered in stickers. Her father had been angry and said that their home was a rental, not a canvas. Not a place for Alex to paint the walls, and cover things in stickers. When she tried removing them, they ripped the paint, so the stickers stayed.

Living in a two-bedroom one-bathroom apartment with four other people seemed harder than it was. For Alex, she only had to worry about keeping her friend hidden when he snuck in to play. He came over so much, that he practically lived there without anyone’s knowledge. Not even her sister’s. Normally they’d be able to go outside together but because she was sick, they were stuck inside.

She opened the bathroom door wide. “Code Red.”

John nodded once, running out of the bathroom. They snuck past the kitchen to the front door, trying not to giggle as Alex’s mom danced while washing the dishes.

Alex opened the front door as quietly as she could, flinching when it creaked.

“Alex?”

“Run,” She whispered, shoving her friend outside. She slammed the door shut, turning back to her mother quickly with a smile. “Yes, mom?”

“Were you outside?”

“No.”

Her mother made a face, “you have tonsillitis, again. No going outside.”

“Yes, mom.”

“Go sit down so I can serve you some food.”

“Yes, mom.

-

“I think,” John stretched out his legs on the brown carpet. “I would rather live in an apartment.”

“Really?” Alex looked at the closed blinds in her room. “It’s not that great. I would love to live in a house.”

“Houses are messy.”

“What do you mean?”

John thought for a moment, crossing his ankles, “they are a lot of maintenance.”

“Maintenance?”

“Keeping it together, you know? It’s a lot of work. They are big, and they get dirty really fast.” John sighed, “trust me, you don’t want a house.”

“If I had a house, I wouldn’t have to share a room with my sister.” She chewed on her cheek, staring at her bed. “Maybe I could have my own room. I wouldn’t have to share, then I could bring friends over.”

John frowned, “I’m a friend. You said I practically lived here.”

Alex laughed, “you do.” She licked her lips, smile falling. “Never mind. It just gets boring sometimes. No one plays outside. It’s hard to make friends.”

John sat up, crossing his legs, “well, I’ll be your friend for as long as you want me to be.”

Alex grinned, “thanks, John.”

“Of course.” He puffed up his chest, “I’m the best at hiding too. We have to be honest; no one here has ever seen me. I mean,” He stood up, counting on his fingers. “I’m quiet. I even slept over once, and no one caught me. I even eat the food in the fridge when no one is around.” Alex laughed. “I did break something -once.”

Alex stopped laughing. “I took the blame.”

John folded his arms, “do you think they would even believe you if you would have said it was me?” He grinned, “I’m here every day and no one knows.”

Alex shrugged, smiling a little, “probably not but, that’s why we don’t play tag in the house anymore.”

“Exactly.”

Alex touched her lip, feeling over the annoying cold sore.

“You shouldn’t do that. It’s not going to go away.”

Alex rolled her eyes, “you sound like my sister.”

“Alex-”

She quickly looked to the door, “I -I can explain.”

Her mother stared at her, pressing her lips together tightly. “Alex what-”

“Mom! I’m sick and bored and I needed a friend!”

“We talked about this in therapy, Alex.” Her mother squatted in front of her, glancing at the pile of clothes beside her daughter. “Moving is scary, I know it is. You’re going to make friends eventually. You can’t keep,” her mother took a deep breath. “We moved to another state. It’s smaller than our old apartment and I’m sorry. After the car accident, things have been hard but that doesn’t mean you can’t make friends and enjoy your life here.”

Alex’s eyes teared up, “I’m sick and I’m missing the second week of school. I have a cold sore and people are going to think I’m gross.” She sniffled, “John is my only friend, and he makes me feel normal.”

“He isn’t real, sweetheart. You need a real friend.”

Alex looked up, tears boiling over. “He practically lives here.”

“My love,” Her mother hummed, bringing her daughter into her arms. “You are eight years old now. There is no room for imaginary friends. Okay?”

Alex stared at the pile of clothes, angry at her friend for leaving her to cry in her mother’s arms.

-

“No imaginary nothing here.” Alex’s father cut into his food, waving his fork around. “If he isn’t paying rent, tell him to go away.”

Alex poked at her food, twisting her mouth.

Alex’s mother groaned, “honey, seriously?”

Ana kicked her sister under the table, shaking her head. She mouthed; ‘ignore him.’ Ana wiped her mouth, “she’s eight. It’s normal to have an imaginary friend.”

“He doesn’t pay rent,” Alex spat. “He has a house and a family. He just comes over a lot.”

Alex’s father sighed loudly, chewing, “sweetie, he isn’t real. If he was, I would have called the police. Four people live in this apartment, not five. He is made up.”

“He’s my friend,” Alex whispered. “That’s not made up.”

“I paid a lot of money for therapy. I’m not doing this.” Her father picked up his cup of water, “I think if I can get this raise, once our lease is up, we can move into a bigger place.” He looked at Alex, “give you your own room finally.”

Alex frowned, “I thought you said houses were too much ‘maintenance’. Too messy.”

He sucked his teeth, “I didn’t say a house. I said a bigger place. And yes, houses are messy. They are big and get dirty fast. It means more cleaning for everyone. Do you want that?”

Alex stared at her food, mumbling, “no.”

“Okay. Eat up so you can go to bed. Both of you.”

Alex grabbed her cup of water with both hands to take a sip. She set it down slowly squinting at the kitchen. She looked past her father, through the small window that saw into the kitchen.

There was John, waving eagerly at her.

Alex stood with her plate. “I’m full, mom.”

“Okay, sweetie. Go put your plate in the sink.”

Alex almost ran to the kitchen, smiling wide at her friend. She whispered, “you’re back.”

John smiled, winking, “come on. I practically live here.” He nudged her softly, “I told you, I’ll be your friend for as long as you want me to be.” 

May 28, 2022 23:37

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