Imaginary Friends by Jenna Perry

“Come on Jill, we have to get the sticks out of the yard.” 

I heard my daughter talking to someone, but no one was there. 

“Dani, who are you talking to?”

“Jill, she is my new friend.”

I clearly didn’t see anyone, and knew I did not have another child on my hands. Jill must be an imaginary friend that Dani had come up with. 

“Dani, it is time for dinner, come wash up and get to the table.”

“Jill, it is time for dinner, my mom made pancakes, bacon, and eggs.”

I guess Jill was joining us for dinner. I made Dani, my husband, and myself a plate and we sat down to eat. 

“Where is Jill’s plate, mom?”

“Honey, Jill can’t eat real food like us.”

Dani threw a tantrum. 

“Jill is my friend. She is able to do whatever I can!”

She stomped off to her room, and we did not see her the rest of the night. My husband and I had a long conversation about how we needed to accept that Dani sees Jill as a real person, which means we have to treat her that way. 

Two weeks had gone by and Jill was still around. We fed her, buckled her in a seat belt, showered her, and wherever Dani was, there was Jill too. 

“Mom! Jill told me that if I look into her eyes and I wish for something, it will come true.”

“Dani, don’t go making big wishes, they might not come true.”

“Whatever, Mom.”

All night I could hear Dani making wishes and praying for them to come true. She wished for a pony, a new princess bed set, a puppy, and a new baby sister. I hated that I had to hear Dani wish for these things, knowing it is not going to come true, but in her little, precious, mind she thinks that Jill is going to give her exactly what she is wishing for. 

“Mommy! Jill told me that everytime I wish for something, my life gets shorter. What does she mean?”

What…..

“Honey, Jill is just playing a prank on you. Go play.”

“Babe, Dani just told me that Jill apparently told her that everytime she wishes for something, her life gets shorter. Where is she getting this from?”

“She probably just heard something on TV and it had her mind wondering.”

It had been a month since Dani developed this new friend, and it started getting old. We could not sit at the dinner table in peace without Dani talking to Jill the whole time. It genuinely was starting to make my husband and I question. Dani did not have friends at school, so we wondered if this was her way of coping. Every night she stays up making pointless wishes and then says a prayer for them to come true. When will it stop?

Three months. Three months had passed since Jill “arrived”. One Sunday morning we were watching TV in the living room and we heard a knock on the door, which was odd because we never have visitors. I opened the door and standing there was a guy. The guy also had a friend….a pony. 

“Hello?”

“Hi ma’am, I was told this pony was to be delivered here. 149 Merry Banks road, correct?”

“Correct, but we did not buy a pony.”

“Says here you did.”

Dani came running around the corner.

“A pony?! Mommy! Daddy! You bought me a pony? My wish came true!”

How could we not let Dani have this pony. 

We kept the pony and Dani named it Loli. She was attached to Loli and she did nothing but thank Jill for making her wish come true. Day after day, Dani wished for more unrealistic things. One evening we went to Kohl’s to go shopping and when we got to the front to check out, the lady behind us said she wanted to buy this princess bed set for Dani, if she liked it. 

“Mommy please! I love that.”

I let the lady buy it for her and then I remembered that was one of Dani’s wishes to Jill. What was going on? I had no reasoning for this. Coincidence? Had to be. Dani’s birthday was coming up, so I had other things to worry about. She was turning ten this year, so we wanted to throw a big birthday party. 

It was the morning of her birthday and her dad and I always went in to sing to her and bring her breakfast. 

“Dani, wake up honey.” She had her whole body under the blankets. 

She threw off the blankets.

“AHHHHH, Who are you?”

“What? What do you mean?”

“Where is Dani??”

“Mom, I am Dani!”

This was not my daughter. This was an adult. Dani looked in the mirror and saw she had aged. She screamed. Then she looked to the left as if she saw someone.

“Dani, I told you your life would get shorter.”

“This is what you meant?”

“Dani, who are you talking to?”

“Mom, it’s Jill. She told me my life would get shorter with every wish she granted….remember?”

            “You are twenty now Dani, enjoy it.”

            “Mom! She said I am twenty years old.” 

I could not fathom what was happening. My husband and I slowly walked out of the room and we had nothing to say. The house was quiet for a few hours. 

“Two of Dani’s wishes had come true, what if more come true? All she ever did was grant wishes. She can’t keep aging.”

“We need to see what she had wished for and try to stop it.”

We called Dani out in the living room and tragically, I could not look my own daughter in the eyes. 

“We need to know what else you wished for, so we can try to stop them from coming true.”

“I wished for a puppy, a baby sister, and a new house. Jill would only let some of my wishes come true, so those three were the only other ones she allowed.”

“So if we do not allow anyone to buy us a puppy or a house, we should be good. We are not planning on having any babies.”

This was by far the craziest thing to happen to us. We spent weeks trying to figure out how to explain this to people. We kept Dani hidden. She did not leave the house. Eventually we worked up the nerve to explain it to our families and everyone was extremely supportive. Dani stopped talking to Jill and she had finally stopped seeing and hearing her. It was a very long journey, but we do not love our baby girl any less. 

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