I remember how simple my life used to be. Every morning I would wake up and knock on my neighbor's door. My friend and I would act with all our naivety to try and annoy our neighbor, that old grouch. I always wondered why he tolerated us.
Every day we would spend hours lounging about in the endless fields, watching the sun evaporate into the horizon. We would lay on our backs and watch as day turned into night.
I remember meeting this one girl, she was wacky, out of this world. Grand ideas and schemes grew in her mind, and I would always agree with her about everything. She was smart and funny, and she would always help me out when I needed her the most.
A few years ago, she packed up her things and moved. The place where she used to live in was emptied out. A few of her closest friends, myself included, wept to see her go. Right before she left, she went up to me and handed me a framed photograph. She told me, "Take this. It holds too many memories for me. I want you to keep it, to remember me by. Listen, everyone may tell you that you're nothing, that you'll never amount to anything in your life. Don't listen to them. You have the spirit that none of us do. When you grow up, you'll be the best of all of us."
And she left. I held back my tears as she drove away into the fading horizon.
A few more years later, my best friend told me that it was time for him to move on. I asked him why, and he told me that he just didn't see a future for himself in our town. He too went his own way.
Before he left, he gave me a ring. I remember. We used to wear these silly friendship rings, oh how childish it all was. But he gave me his ring and, with a tear in his eye, he whispered to me, "You'll always be my best friend, no matter what anyone says. I would do anything for you, but it's time for me to go."
With a look of determination, he left.
My neighbor talked to me the next day. I didn't know he cared about me at all. He knocked on my door and told me that it's going to be okay. He patted me on the back and grinned, the first time I recall seeing him genuinely smile. I knew it was never going to be the same. Two of my best friends had left. The town felt empty to me after that.
It's been a few years and I sit here in my living room remembering everything. The smiles, the laughter, the happiness. Where did it all go? If only I could tell the kids, "Enjoy your childhood while it lasts. Otherwise you'll end up like me...living in a pineapple under the sea..."