Saturday Afternoon Fable
Sydney surveyed her room, a wide smile on her freckled face. She loved when her friends came to visit. It made her feel wanted, a feeling she rarely experienced anymore.
"Syd? If you had a million dollars, what would you do?" Tasha was lying on her stomach on Sydney's bed, dangling her arm over the edge and trailing her fingertips across the floor. She didn't look up when she spoke, too enthralled by the fibers of Sydney's strawberry colored carpet. But Sydney knew that Tasha would listen to her answer. Tasha was always listening.
Sydney thought for a moment before she spoke. Just as she was about to answer, Alyssa interrupted. "Y'know what I would do? I'd travel all around the world. See everything there is. Then I'd come back home and write about it all."
Rachel laughed. "Why come back home? Just stay somewhere. Anywhere's gotta be better than here." Rachel smacked her gum as she spoke, a habit she couldn't seem to break.
"She's right, Liss," Brianna added. "San Diego'd be awfully boring after seeing the rest of the world." She paused for a moment. "If I had a million dollars, I'd move to LA and buy myself one of those artsy movie theaters. I've always loved those. I think it'd be incredible."
"So if I had a million dollars, I'd have to loan it all out to Bree, because she'll be in serious debt after trying to run her artsy movie theater with only a million dollars." Rachel laughed again, smacking her gum. She rolled her eyes in response to the smack and removed the gum from her mouth, tossing it into Sydney's trash can.
"A million dollars is more than you think, Rach," Tasha replied, still not looking up from the carpet. "But I asked Sydney. What would you do, Syd?"
Sydney smiled. "I'd buy a house in the mountains. A house where we could all live together."
"The Real World, Big Bear," Rachel quipped. Brianna laughed and punched Rachel in the arm. Alyssa smiled back at Sydney. "That sounds really nice, Syd," she said.
Rachel scrambled from her seat on the floor up onto Sydney's desk chair. She sat on it backwards. "Y'know what we should do? We should go catch a movie."
Tasha rolled over onto her back, examining the popcorn ceiling. "What should we see?"
"Or more importantly, how would we get there?" added Brianna. She curled up on the carpet, resting her head in Alyssa's cross-legged lap.
Sydney sighed. "My parents won't take us. None of us can drive, and it's too far to walk.."
"Bah," Rachel said. "We never get to do anything fun. We just sit around here while Tasha asks us stupid questions. Or we go downstairs and watch TV. Big deal." She glanced out the window. "We could walk to the pool. It's not as far as the movie theater."
Tasha looked up. "But Syd can't swim, remember?"
Sydney smiled, glad that someone had remembered. Everyone always seemed to forget things about her. That is, if they didn't forget her in general.
"There's nothing wrong with staying here, Rach," Alyssa said. "Because we're all here together. And nothing's better than that."
Rachel considered that. Then she cracked a smile, her first genuine smile all afternoon. "Yeah, you're right." She flashed her smile over at Sydney. Sydney closed her eyes, imprinting this moment in her mind. She wanted to remember this forever.
When she opened her eyes, the room was empty. The ceiling fan whirred slowly, noiselessly. Her carpet had turned from strawberry to dull gray. And her friends were gone, Tasha, Alyssa, Brianna, and even Rachel, all just figments of her imagination.