Here is my contribution to last week’s #WriteFridays exercise. I started and threw out a few, but finally came up with this. Based, as they say, on a “true” story.
Writing Exercise 2 (Actions)
When I was a kid, I had an imaginary friend. Most kids do. He was about my size and age, and we looked pretty much the same, except he was a boy. This was before I knew much about boys.
I told my mom about Funiculee-Funiculi once. She didn’t look up from her book but simply nodded and shrugged. I overheard her later on the phone.
“Jan’s got an imaginary friend,” she tut-tutted to her best friend, Marnie. They lived about 15 minutes apart and spoke every day on the phone, sometimes twice. That’s where I learned what a best friend was.
F-F and I didn’t talk much. Sometimes all we did was chase each other up and down the stairs until my mom kicked us both outside. There we would chase butterflies and basketballs, playing ghost baseball until the streetlights would come on and it was time to sneak home.
It was a few months before I learned what “imaginary friend” meant. To my mind, it meant that we used our imagination to have fun. And we sure did. But another kid at school—one of those girls who always seems to take delight in pointing out why what you think is fun really isn’t, and isn’t it time you grew up?—spilled the beans.
Still, I didn’t think much of it. If F-F were imaginary, then who was it reached me the last cookie off the plate on the kitchen counter that I definitely couldn’t reach? And who threw me the ball for hours, sometimes so fast or far I had to run, bend, and twist to catch it? And who did I sit up for hours after mom turned the lights out, whispering secrets and hatching plans for the next day, and the next day, and the next?
Some weeks later, F-F came with us to my grandfather’s funeral. I didn’t know much about what was going on except that I had to wear a black dress that had been my cousin’s and it was too small. And also my tights itched, and I wanted to take them off and play in the grassy yard behind my grandparents’ house like I usually did when we went to visit. F-F wasn’t allowed in the room where Grandpa was. Instead, he watched the entire affair through the windows in the door. I didn’t think this was fair, but mom was firm.
School ended, and the day after, my mom found me in the backyard with a shovel.
“What are you doing?” she asked, squinting against the sun’s reflection off the pages of her latest romance novel.
“Funiculee-Funiculi died.” I stabbed the shovel into the earth, enlarging the small hole it had taken me almost an hour to get started. The shovel was almost as tall as I was.
“He did, huh?” Mom kind of nodded. I could almost see her making a mental note to tell this newest update to Marnie. “Sorry to hear that.”
I accepted her sympathies, even if they left somewhat confused.
Anyone could see the body, lying out on the lawn.