"Well, hi, Tom," I giggled and let go of his hand. "I saw your teddy on the swing and I thought he was lost,"
"Oh, no, I was just enjoying the park while Mr Schnoogly had a little swing," he politely replied. I smiled and shook Mr Schnoogly's hand.
"He's so cute," I complimented. Tom whispered something into his friend's ear and giggled. I tilted my head in confusion.
"He said you're cute too," Tom clarified. I blushed and looked down. An idea struck me and I held out my hand, for Tom to take.
"Come with me, I want to show you something," I announced and Tom took hold of my hand, eager to follow. We skipped down to the end of the park and made countless amounts of turns until we got to the bushes, in the forest, which perfectly hid my secret spot inside a tree — I called it Heaven. I pushed past the shrubs and called Tom. He gingerly walked through and I crawled inside, him behind me. Once we were in, I pulled the bushes back in place, hiding the entrance from anyone on the outside —although it was highly unlikely people would be out here, animals perhaps but not people.
Tom stood up from the ground and dusted his jeans, then gawked at my little paradise. It was bigger than it looked from the outside. He walked over to my small mattress and ran his fingers along the soft blanket and pillow. He studied the little cabinet beside it and admired my hand-made basked which contained all my food. Everything I needed was in here, Mom didn't let me sleep in the house; she said I blemished everyting I touched. Tom giggled as he through Mr Schnoogly up in the air and I caught him gracefully. I beamed at him and handed his fluffy friend back.
"How did you find this place?" he questioned, amazed. I shrugged and lowered my head, too ashamed to tell him why I was really here. Unlike normal kids who used places like this as a treehouse for fun and games, I used Heaven as a home — it was the only one I knew. It was the only place I could truly call 'home'. I don't know why I'd shown Tom; I guess I saw something in him —empathy, but that was doubtful.
"I get it, it's personal," he assured and held Mr Schnoogly out to me. Instead, I pulled Tom to me and rested my head on his shoulder. He squeezed me and we stayed like that for what seemed like forever; in a warm hug and a comfortable silence. He finally broke away and whispered,
"I have to go, my dad'll kill me if I'm late,"
Little did I know he was being serious. I nodded laboriously and let go of him. He pushed the bushes aside and crawled out of Heaven. I noticed Mr Schnoogly had accidently been left behind and I chased after Tom. Realising I was trying to catch up, he turned around.
"You...forgot...Mr Schnoogly," I panted. Tom smiled softly and gently pushed Mr Schnoogly back into my arms. I furrowed my brows in confusion and waited for him to explain.
"You can keep him for the night," he whispered sweetly, "that way we can see each other again."
My slightly swollen cheeks turned a bright colour of crimson and I embraced him one last time before he slipped away.
"See you later, Tom," I murmured hopefully. He hugged Mr Schnoogly and lightly kissed my cheek.
"See you later, Mr Schnoogly," he whispered cheerfully, "See you later, BabyBlue."
He walked away quietly and disappeared out of the forest. He must've memorised the way.
I, too, walked away, and wriggled into Heaven with Mr Schnoogly resting on my back. I ripped open a large bag of crisps, the only food my Mom gave me, and fed. After I was satisfied, as much as I could be without a proper meal, I gurgled down water and changed into my old, coburg pajamas and snuggled into my bed with my new friend right by my side. That night, I slept peacefully and dreamt of Tom, Mr Schnoogly and I in a magical forest, chasing each other and playing games just like true friends did. For the first time in seven years, my Mom didn't haunt my sleep.