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I know there isn't going to be much time left. It is already starting. I had been expecting it for a while now. I can feel it now. I'm disappearing. It feels strange, yet familiar. After all, this has already happened to me so many times before. Even so, nothing prepares you for it and you never get used to it. I was beginning to hope it wouldn't happen, not this time.

I guess it began about three years ago, or mabye that's when I finally noticed. Even so it wasn't until last year that I began to accept it. She was growing up, and I was fading away. I always knew this was coming. So why am I so upset? No one keeps their imaginary friend forever. It's just how it is. Eventually they grow up and we fade away. If we're lucky we move on to a new kid, if not we disappear into thin air. The whole process is completely up to chance, we have no control over it. I have no say in what's going to happen to me. It's not fair, because I'm not even sure that I want to move on and just start over. How can I? How can I just move on and forget? How can pretend it never happened?

My kid's name is Ava. She is the tenth kid I've had, but I still care for her. I met her about seven years ago when she was just four years old. I, I don't really have an age. Like the others, I just seem to age with my kid. She called me Amy and told me that I was going to be her new friend. She looked so happy to see me. I could tell she was lonely. I'm not quite sure how I knew, but it always happens this way. I am somehow given all the information I need. It confused me at first but you earn to accept it. Afterall, there is no one you can ask. I don't always meet other imaginary friends, but even those I have met can't answer my questions. They were just as clueless as I am,

Ava and I used to have so much fun together. We would play with her stuffed animals and have teaparties every weekend. When she made friends we would play with them, or I wpuld play with their imaginary friends. That is, if they had any. As she got older I would talk to her and give her advice. I would comfort her when she was upset and be right there with her when succeeded. Sometimes I would even help her with her homework or help her study for a test. No matter what we were doing I always had so much fun.

But, as time went on she needed me less and less. She no longer came to me for help or to just hang out or talk. Sometimes I might even go weeks without her speaking to me. Sometimes wouldn't even see or hear me, even when I wasstanding right in front of her. It made me so sad beacause I was losing my only friend, and I knew what was coming.

I began to get so lonely waiting for her to remember me. I would get so upset sometimes. I would get angry and begin screaming and try to make her notice me. Other times I would get sad and just run away and cry. Despite everything though, I can't blame her. It isn't her fault that I'm not real or that no one else can see me. It wasn't really anyone's fault. This is just how things are. This is how they always are, though I'm not quite sure why. We imaginary friends have been around for so long but we're not sure where we came from or why we were created. But it doesn't change anything. It's the same every time.

You wake up in a new place with a new kid. You remember everything that's happened to you before. You know what you are and what that means. You also have new information; who your new kid is, what your new name is, and what you need to do for the kid. You know what they like to do and how to make them happy, But eventually it ends. They no longer need you. And when it happens, it breaks your heart.

This is what's happening now. Ava is almost eleven. I'm actually surprised that she kept me around for this long. Most kids forget at least by the time they turn seven. Then again, she was always shy. I think she kept me here for so long just so she would have someone to talk to. So she wouldn't be all alone. That way she didn't didn't need to feel sad or lonely. But she has a group of friends at her school now and she doesn't really need me anymore and I'm happy for her. I'm fading fast now. I beginning to feel tired. I'm also a little worried about what going to happen to both of us. But I know she'll be okay without me.

The kids never really notice when we are gone. We just quietly fade away into the background. They move on and forget us. Later on they may remember, but to them it was all fake. They convince themselves that we were never really there. We were just a figment of their imaginations. It hurts every time it happens. You know they're beginning to forget you, and it hurts. You don't want to be forotten, but there is nothing you can do about it.

That's why I;m not sure if I want to move on. I don't think I can spend so much time with someone else just to be forgotten in the end. I don't think I can keep doing this. I'm almost gone now. I'm going to miss Ava. But, she is a very good person and she will do just fine when I'm gone. I won't be holding her back any more. There's only one thing left for me to do now.

I find Ava doing her homework in her room. I walk up beside her with tears in my eyes. “Goodbye,” I whisper even though I know she can't hear me. Without that I close my eyes and then I'm gone.

I open my eyes. I guess I'm moving on again. I'll be forced to start over anew. I look around expecting to find a child there's no one around. “That's odd,” I think to myself. I check my memories. I find nothing. There's no new information, no new names, no new kid. What's going on. This isn't isn't supposed to happen. Why am I here, wherevere here is, if there is no new kid?

I hear footsteps behind me. I turn around and see another imaginary friend. She must have a kid around Ava's age since she appears to be around eleven. Afterall, we don't age normally. She seems to notice my confusion because she says, “You must be new here.” I nod my head in reply. “I'm Elizabeth,” she says. I assume that's what her kid named her.

"Where am I?” I ask, “What's going on?” She smiles and says, “We call this place the valley. Because we always show up here in the middle of a valley.” she says gesturing to the are around us. “This is where we come when retire.”

Retire?” I repeat confused, “We can't retire. Can we?”

Of course.” she says. “ But I know how you feel. I was confused when I first came here. Instead of disappearing when we are no longer needed and don't move on we come here. You'll be the same age you were when you disappeared and you'll have the same name. We live here like our kids do we even age normal. You'll be connected to and live as long as your last kid did. You'll become somewhat like her conscience and will be able to give her advice when she needs help.”

Wow,” I say still trying to take in all the new information. “I guess my name is amy then,” I say.

I know it's a little confusing at first, but you'll get used to it,” she says smiling. “Come on. I'll show you where our village is,” she says gesturing for me to follow her.

I smile and follow her. For once I feel like everything is going to be just fine.


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