Jimmy Wilder and I used to be best friends when were kids, since we were five years old. I used to be bullied all the time at school and no one ever wanted to talk to me, they all said I was weird because my hair was too long and my eyes were too blue, like I was an alien for being different, actually I guess that analogy makes a lot of sense.
But not Jimmy. No, Jimmy and I spent every waking moment we could together, throwing rocks into the river and making wishes on them, making up stories about giant alligators that would come out of the riverÂ and eat you if you told anyone about your wish, and just looking up into the stars, thinking about being best friends forever.
Forever didn’t seem long enough when I moved to Arizona when I was seven, and just like all things and people do, Jimmy faded out of my mind the less and less we talked, but I never forgot him. I could never forget the boy who tried to kiss me on that bridge when we were six years old.
I saw Jimmy in the library, the last place I’d expect to find him. Jimmy never liked to read, our kindergarten teacher used to have to force him to sit down and read a book before he could come play outside on the playground with me. I’d spent almost every waking day in the town library since I’d gotten to town, reading book after book, working on my stories and my laptop, it felt like home too me.
I noticed him staring at me, and I knew it was him because I had seen him outside his house when I’d be sitting on the porch reading a book and he’d just stand there and smile at me like I was the long-lost city of El Dorado he’d been searching for. What a coincidence it was that he happened to be my father’s neighbor now, guess people in this town just can’t get enough of each other from a distance.
I pretended not to see him, going straight back to my book. I was actually indulged in the action packed world of James Patterson and his character Maximum Ride, a world of fantasy that I had never entered before, and one I was enjoying being able to escape too.
“Hi there, Vi”, Jimmy sat down beside me, smiling that same smile I still remembered, the one that told me he was as happy as a clam.
I squirmed in my seat, clearing my throat as a sign that told him I didn’t want to be talked too.
Jimmy rolled his eyes, “You can’t avoid me forever Violet Esmerelda Blake, as much as you’d like to think you can by burying your nose in a book. Guess some people never change”, he said this without contempt or vengeance but to to me it was like every word was dripping with acid, and they definitely stung my open wounds.
“Hush, we’re in a library”, I mumbled, not looking up at him.
Jimmy had always been the popular one at school, even when we were little the girls noticed how good looking he was. I was afraid to admit that that quality about him hadn’t changed.
“Oh, so you are acknowledging my exsistence”, he grinned triumphantly.
I gritted my teeth, “barely”.
Jimmy sighed, “Violet, how long has it been since I last saw you?”
“Nine years”, I grumbled, my eyes darting to look at him for a moment.
He nodded, “nine years, that’s a long time to go without seeing or talking to someone”, he grimaced.
I felt tears brimming at the back of my eyes, “you could’ve written me a letter”.
“So could you”.
I couldn’t argue with that one, I hadn’t made the effort to talk to him either, I guess I couldn’t put all the blame on him.
Jimmy took my book right from out of my hands, dog-earing the page and giving me a cocky smile.
I rolled my eyes, he knew I didn’t like to dog ear the pages of books, he was just doing to to get under my skin, and unfortunately with Jimmy he could always manage to do that.
He placed the book back in my knapsack, “come on, let’s get out of here”, he said, slinging my back over his shoulder and grabbing my hand, wrapping it around his.
“Where are we going?” I asked as he pulled me along.
“It’s a surprise”, he looked back at me and grinned.
I don’t know why I let him get to me, I hadn’t intended on speaking to him again, I didn’t want to get attached to him, and i knew I would. I had missed Jimmy a lot when I had moved, but I knew I had to let go of him, especially after all that had happened to me, I couldnt risk getting him involved in my complicated life, I didnt want to him to feel like he was losing me all over again if I killed myself, so I just let him go. But now….as he told me to close my eyesÂ while he led me Â into what felt like some place with tall grass, i felt like I never wanted to be away from him. For the first time in what felt like my whole life, I felt safe.
“Ok, open your eyes”, Jimmy said.
I opened my eyes, and I was glad that I did. I gasped, he had taken me to the corn field we used to play in when we were kids, the one by his families old farm. So many memories were made in that field and it was like I was reliving them over and over again as I stood there.
“Jimmy”, I whispered, staring around all wide eyed.
“You remember this place?” he asked, squinting at me with his hands stuck in his jeanÂ pockets.
I nodded, of course I remembered. In those moments I saw the Jimmy I once knew, the same old Jimmy who loved to hear me talk about nothing and make up crazy stories about far away lands with faries and mermaids, the same Jimmy who’d do anything to make me laugh, the same one I’d turned to as a child whenever I was sad. He was still my best friend.
We sat with each other for hours, just playing in the corn fields together like we did when were little, chasing each other around, tackling each other and having tickle fights. I felt normal again, like i hadn’t even been gone for nine years and missed out on so much of his life.
We laid outside side by side and watched the stars twinkling in the night sky, just like old times.
“Remember that time you wished on a shooting star that turned out to just beÂ a jet?”
I muffled a laugh, “yes”.
Jimmy’s big green eyes got really serious and he turned to look at me, “you never told me what you wished for”.
I rolled over to look at him, staring into his eyes I felt like the luckiest person in the world because I had my very best friend back.
I reached up and stroked a piece of brown hair away from his eyes, “I wished for this”.
He looked confused.
I smiled happily, rolling my eyes at him and scooting close to him so i could wrap my arms around him, “I wished that we could stay best friends forever and a day”.
“And a day?” I could feel his lips moving into a smirk as he laid his cheek on my neck, snuggling close.
I reached down and intwined my fingers within his, the way he used to walk together when we were small, “because forever just isn’t enough time for me”.