Bentley and I have been bestfriends since he was three years old. We’ve played an endless amount of hide and seek, hot lava, and leap frog. Those were the great times. But, Bentley was getting older now. It was time for him to naturally stop believing. His family had went to visit the circus in town, they were gone all day. It was probably 7:30 when they came back home. Bentley had rushed to go into his room.
“Ivan, Ivan!” Bentley excitedly yelled.
“What is it?” I asked.
“You should have been there! There were elephants, clowns, and just so much more!”
“It sounds like you’ve had a lot of fun there.”
“Yeah, I just wished you could have been there.”
“I know, me too.” All I could think about was how hard it was going to be to tell him.
“Can we play hide and seek?” Bentley asked.
“No, we need to talk about something.” Bentley’s emotions changed so fast, too fast.
“What is it, Ivan?”
“Come here.” We both sat on his bed. I could sense that Bentley knew this wasn’t going to be good. “There comes a time when best friends, like us, have to leave each other.”
“What do you mean?” Bentley asked pitifully.
“I mean that, I’m going to have to go now.”
“You can’t go Ivan!”
“Shh, it’s okay,” I said hugging Bentley. I looked down and saw that he was crying. “Bentley, you have to be a big boy now.”
“But Ivan, you’re my best friend, you can’t leave me.”
“Bentley, haven’t you noticed that whenever your Mom or Dad asks who you’re talking to and when you say who, they laugh and say ‘Okay, whatever you say, honey.’
“They just don’t understand who you are and that you’re my friend. Ivan, please, you can’t!” I hugged him even tighter. They told me that when I first started the friendships, that this part was going to be the hardest part. I told myself wasn’t going to cry, but I couldn’t help it. Once an imaginary friend knows when it’s time to let go, feelings become very sad. And the worst part is, that we start to fade away. The instant I shed that first tear, I was starting to fade, and Bentley could see that. “Ivan, what’s happening to you?”
“I told you, I need to go now.”
“Bentley, look at me.” I said tilting his chin up. “Everything is going to be alright, I promise. I know this is hard for you. It’s really hard for me too. But you’re growing up. You’re going to do new things and meet new people. Me being here was just a stepping stone for you. I was here for you to gain confidence and be who you really are.”
“Will I still be able to talk to you when I’m sad?” he asked.
“Of course. You won’t be able to see me, but you’ll know I’ll be there, I promise you.” Bentley grabbed me and hugged me again.
“Promise we’ll always be best friends.”
“I love you, Ivan.”
“I love you too, Bentley.” And at that moment I faded away. I could see now what everyone else saw; Bentley hugging thin air.