I knew it would stay like this, every day I bought her back to the same place and she would think it was just like old ‘times’.
But it wasn’t old times, it was five years later, whilst everyone’s brain managed to move on and fast forward, hers would pause and hit rewind every time she fell asleep.
Throughout the five years a lot had changed, people had moved, died or simply drifted away and every day we had to explain why her mother and father weren’t there.
‘We’ meaning my family and I, we took her in after her accident, for her mother and father could not cope and each and every person could see that they were crumbling.
So yes, we took her, but that was the hardest thing.
She was my best friend, the bright brown haired, golden skinned girl that we would always have to buy the same clothes so she would notice nothing had changed. The clothes were always red shorts, a white vest top and some sandals. I was thankful we lived in Florida, for it was always hot and that was even more of an excuse to wear the clothes.
Her name was Sandy and she repeated every day that is why she loved the beach, I always had to smile and reply with my usual reply “Yeah me too!” Faking it so sound more enthusiastic than I actually was. Sometimes I sat and watched her as she slept, looking at her, knowing that today would be the same day. It was like a film, I had to rehearse my lines every time I went to bed, just so I didn’t get anything wrong and she didn’t feel out of place.
And so it looked like I hadn’t changed I’d have to get my hair cut in the same exact position as it was five years ago, and wear the same white vest, jean shorts and sandals. I’d never worn glasses, I never had liked them, but she had, she always had.
Sometimes I wanted to sit down with her and just talk to her about the five years that had passed, tell her about the boys I had been out with and broken up with, tell her everything a best friend would.
But I couldn’t. Because it would make her realise something was wrong, and I couldn’t wreck the happiness she had in her. It was like she was living in a world of her own, and I knew that if someone said something wrong, just one word, it would be like a thorn bursting her bubble. She was happy, and we needed to keep it that way.
Not only was she happy, but today she was shimmering, her eyes were rimmed with black eyeliner, which I knew she hadn’t applied herself. Her mind was still stuck in the past and she believed that her mother and father still didn’t want her to wear make-up. (Every time she looked in the mirror, we had to tell her she had a growth spurt, and that would make her stop screaming, pinching at her not-so-visible wrinkles and smile.)
“Your mum did it! Oh, my mum is going to be so angry! Help me wipe it off when we get back from the beach?” Sandy looked at me, her smile big as almost all her white teeth showed. I gave her a small smile and looked as my mum gave me a thumbs up in the door behind Sandy.
It was always pressure; it was the pressure to keep your nerves down, bite down on them and kill them and not scream out to tell Sandy that we were now eighteen and growing up. I was soon going to University, how would mum and dad explain that?
“Okay, just let me do my hair.” I walked over to the mirror and decided I’d make a change from my normal middle parted curtains of brown hair and fluffed it up with my hands, making it puff out wild and crazy, yet neat in a weird way.
Sandy gasped behind me. “Oh! You said you would never change your hair!”
I had said I’d never change my hair. People change Sandy, through time.
“I know, but everything changes through time.” I told her, giving her a reassuring smile as I felt the scowl from mum land on me. “Come on, let’s go bestie.” I felt foolish saying it, since then I had changed.
“You’ve gotten really weird,” Sandy commented, before waving at my mother. We walked out into the sun, which blazed down upon us like fire.
We weren’t far from the beach, so walking in it wouldn’t be too hard.
The streets were empty at this time of day; we were a little early from the mid-day work rush. The breeze was gentle and cool and tickled my skin, and the oceans salty smell rang through the air.
The streets had changed and Sandy realised that again today.
“What happened to Old Bob’s Pizza shop?” She questioned. I shrugged.
“It was bought and I think some people run a hot dog shop.” I replied, not making a worthy excuse, Sandy made a snorting sound.
“Your just playing with me!” She dug her elbows into my ribs, as if to joke, but I shook my head.
Today would be the day I told her. But then I looked at her properly, her happiness and now confusion sinking in together and creating a new expression that I had seen after she got out of surgery. Tears threatened to sting my eyes but I blinked them back and gave her a smile.
“Yeah, I’m just kidding with you. Come on, we got to get on the swing, race you there!”
To be honest, I had become pretty fit in the five years, every day I had to run with her to the swing. It wasn’t a usual swing, you stood on it, it was like a wooden platform with stands at the side to make sure you didn’t fall off. It was held up by some metal chains and those were connected to the railings.
It was close to the beach, a few meters away, at just the beginning and behind it was a wide patch of grass, as well as a path splitting the small grass field in half, with palm trees dotted here in there in a scattered manner. Some houses were beside it but they were a good length of meters away.
Today the sky was blue and cotton candy white clouds faded into the distance. Of course I got there first, having gotten so used to how long we had to run.
“Hey, you’re getting faster.” Sandy commented, huffing and puffing. Though we ran everyday, her body didn’t seem to get used to it and yet stayed at the unhealthy way it was. But, you see, she had real high metabolism and that seemed to help with her staying perfectly skinny.
We jumped on the swing, standing at each end, our feet nearly touching. She started to swing first, pushing her body forward, her arm muscles being defined as she pushed. I done the same, and soon we had a rhythm going. At first it started with light giggles, as I told myself not to get into it, but then we both started to laugh, deep tummy laughs that made us throw our heads back and laugh at the sky. It was fun, it was happiness, it was friendship. But then it would all sink back in that I would do this again tomorrow.
The swing stopped abruptly as I looked over at the place where the accident happened and frowned, not returning the push she had given.
I remember the amount of blood on the floor, I remember the dent in the car, I remember my scream, I remember Sandy’s scream. And I remember the sickening crack of her skull as she rolled over the car and fell to the ground.
The man went to jail and we were paid. But we didn’t want the money.
We wanted the old Sandy back, the one who wanted to try something different everyday. The one who didn’t know how to just play one song that she could remember on guitar, the one who said she would try surfing and didn’t think it was foolish, the one who knew me inside out and complimented me every day about changing something about me and not thinking it was weird.
We wanted Sandy back.
“Hey, you okay Bestie?” She smiled at me, trying to start the swing again, but I made sure I returned my gaze with a frown. “What’s wrong?” She jumped off the swing and helped me down. I tried to steer her away from the where the drunken man had hit her, but I knew she would ask questions on why she had to move.
“Do you remember what happened that day? When you were run over?”
Sandy looked at me, shocked. The wind picked up a little, as if to tell me it would fight me if I said anymore. Her hair caught in her confused face. “What? Don’t be silly! I’ve never gotten run over! I’ve told you, you’ve been acting weird lately.”
Sandy laughed it off, trying to walk back to the swing, but I turned her around.
“You have to believe me Sandy, you were hit by a car and now your memory is messed up. We’re both eighteen years old now, I’m going to UNI soon and your parents have both split up. You haven’t had a growth spurt, who goes from an A cup to a D cup in a day? Sandy, don’t you see, this doesn’t add up? Old Bob died and the Pizza shop was sold, the kids that lived here have all grown up and have a family of their own.”
I looked at her, pleadingly, as the words tumbled out in a desperate manner. But she shook her head, she shook her head and yanked her hand away from me.
“No, you must be lying! You must! I can’t remember!” Sandy held her hands to her head, blocking out the sound as I told her it was the truth.
“Try to remember… please Sandy!” I ripped her hands from her head and shouted in her ear angrily, telling her to remember.
That was when she broke away from me and ran, ran into the street before turning back to me with a sudden look of realization. I remember. I could see her mouth saying, desperate words. I remember.
She cried the words out, looking as cars stopped and walked out to her.
From there she didn’t budge, she stayed, she did not move for the cars, or for the hospital.
That was the day that Sandy realised times had changed. And that was the day her mind decided it was time to remember things.