“I forgot about the lit candle, I fell asleep and woke up to smoke and ash everywhere,” he explained. “Half of the tree house was on fire, and it blocked my way to the door. The only other way I could get out was to jump out of the window, though it was about 20-30 feet down. I closed my eyes and jumped and everything went black, when I woke up I heard people calling for me but I couldn’t find them. I went back to my house -the lake house- and waited for my parents to come home. Eventually my mother walked in crying with Father’s arm around her shoulders. I tried to talk to them but they didn’t hear me, and they walked right passed me.” He went on about how his body had been found with the still burning tree house, luckily the fire department got to it before the fire spread any further.
“Wow,” was all I could manage. I couldn’t imagine the pain his parents must have felt, or how he felt when he woke up to a roaring fire. Then I realized something, he said his parents couldn’t see or here him, but I could, was there something wrong with me? “How can I see you then...if your parents couldn’t?”
“I don’t know...I tried to figure that out when we met, it didn’t make any sense to me either.” After about 15 more minutes of talking, we decided we should go find me phone to call my family. It was about 6 now and the diner was about to close, so my parents had to rush to come pick me up so I wouldn’t be out on the street again. The owner let us stay inside a little after they closed, though he was about to leave and he didn’t trust us to stay by ourselves. While we waited we talked more and I started to realize that the whole time I was telling myself that being stuck out in the middle of nowhere was a horrible thing so I would have a reason to not stay here-with the only guy I’d ever liked.
I’d always been shy around guys and I’d always pushed them away, seeing what happens to my friends when they and whoever their dating breaks up and the pain they feel-I never wanted to go through that. But now, I realized, that this nameless boy wasn’t like any of the jerks my friends had dated and no matter what I said or did he had stuck with me and helped me. Interrupting my thoughts, my mom pulled up screeching the tires when she stopped. I turned to the nameless boy and smiled, my eyes began to water when I realized I didn’t want to leave him nor did I want to leave the lake house, the forest, or anything here.
“Oh, Honey!” My mom cried bursting through the door and giving me a smothering hug. “I missed you so much!”
“I missed you too, Mom,” I said trying to smile despite the sorrow I felt that I was really leaving the nameless boy.
“Well, come on let’s get you home. I’ve got dinner ready and your bed made, your Father will be so happy to see you!.” She said leading me to the car. After climbing in the passenger side I turned to look at the nameless boy, expecting him to be waving and smiling but instead he was looking down-like he was sad too. Finally he looked up and faked a smile, I pressed my face against the window and tried to smile back.
“What’s wrong sweety?” My mom asked, obviously anxious to leave.
“Mom, I don’t want to leave.”
“What? What are you talking about, your just delusional from the cold.”
“Mom, I don’t want to go!” I said and opened the car door and ran to the nameless boy. I hugged him, though to passing people and my mom it looked like I was hugging the air. “Mom please, don’t make me go!”
“You’re not even 16 you can’t stay here by yourself!” She said, panic in her voice.
“Then lets take him with us, please!”
“Who are you talking about Emily? You’re starting to scare me,” she said growing more worried by the second.
I sighed and looked at the nameless boy not knowing what to do. “I’m not leaving you.”
He smiled and hugged me again, “How about we visit each other on the weekends?”
“You live to far away!”
My mother’s eyes grew wide, “Aren’t you a little old to have an imaginary friend Em?”
I gave her a weird look and looked back at the nameless boy. He laughed, “Maybe I can move closer, just no tree houses or lake houses this time.”
I smiled and said okay, “Just tell me one thing,” I said seriously.
“You never told me your name.”
He kissed me on the cheek, “Andrew,” he whispered.