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I was always a quiet child. I preferred playing alone outside to being around people. My dad thought it was because I was socially undeveloped, my mom was convinced I was just more creative then my peers and too smart to relate to them. I would go off to the woods or anywhere outside and make up adventures or create stories for my life. I made up a dozen or so imaginary friends to join me on these adventures. My mom never questioned me about them, and in fact encouraged this behavior.
One friend was the favorite, but I never got around to naming Her. I named all the others and created backgrounds for them. She was just “Her.” She told me things about people I had no way of knowing, even subconsciously. She was the one that never went away. She was a pale girl that always appeared to have just recovered from an illness. I guess I liked Her best because She was quiet like me and watched people.
When we walked in stores or down streets, She would whisper in my ear and tell me about the people we saw, “He’s on his way to kill himself,” “She’s stealing those cookies,” “Don’t look at him, trust me, you won’t like what he wants…” I would quietly listen. I never seemed to have to talk to Her for Her to know what I was going to say. All the other “friends” faded away and I started school. She stayed up until middle school, constantly telling me each person’s terrible secret. I found out who was abused, who was in love with whom, and who cheated on what test and when. I began writing everything She said in a small journal. I was still a loner and my mom became more and more concerned that She was still around and I rarely made friends. If I began to grow close to someone, she would tell me more and more about him or her until I couldn’t stand the person.
Freshman year I finally snapped and told Her to leave and consciously ignored Her. She followed me for a few months, but either I had destroyed her or she had left. I still seemed to have a sixth sense about people, but no girl telling me private secrets.
Without Her distracting me, I was able to make a close friend in high school. I never told my friend, Amy, about Her, because I was already strange enough. I knew if Amy called crying that she was going to call and why she was upset before she even dialed the phone. Amy liked this and relied on me for comfort and for warnings about bad boyfriends or friends. I was more than happy to warn this girl whom I loved. I liked to think I was protecting her.
My senior year, my Amy became annoyed with me. If she tried to befriend anyone else, they said I started telling her too many of the person’s secrets that I had no business knowing or sharing. I just thought she should know that these were bad people. I was the only good person. I was the person for her to be friends with.
Even when she openly avoided me, I was always watching. I slipped her notes about a guy she had a crush on being an abuser or that her new friend was pregnant.
After a while, I started to waste away and always looked a little ill. I moved near Amy and was always near her. I began to look younger, because I was so frail.
Years later, I met a young girl in the woods outside Amy’s house. She said she had no friends and liked being alone. “Me too,” I said, “And tell your mom her new boyfriend is cheating on her.”