“When we were 12, I made a friend named Beth.”
“I don’t remember anyone named Beth.”
She ignored me and continued. “Beth was 4 years older than me. She was tall, slender, straight brown hair, sparkling hazel eyes – everything I wanted to be when I became her age. She treated me as if was her best friend – maybe her only friend – but I always thought that was impossible, because certainly if her beauty didn’t initially attract others, then her gentle personality would.”
Sarah threw her glass back and finished off the last few sips of her mojito.
“One day, about a week after I met her, I decided to introduce her to you. I was really proud to have made such a mature friend, and I was smiling the entire walk over to your house, but something seemed off with Beth. When I knocked on your front door, your mom answered and told me you weren’t home. I thanked her and told her I had just stopped by with Beth to introduce her to you.”
Sarah clasped her hands and glanced over to the couch.
“Your mom looked at me, smiled, and asked who Beth was. I gestured next to me and told her that Beth was right there, but your mom seemed unsure of how to reply. She asked if Beth was an imaginary friend, which confused me. I was too old for that sort of thing, and Beth was right next to me, so why would your mom ask me that?”
Sarah averted her eyes from the couch and looked back at me.
“Your mom couldn’t see Beth. In fact, I was the only one that could see her, and it drove me over the edge. I thought I was crazy. It was too much for a 12 year old mind, and that’s why we left town. But Beth followed me. No matter where I went, Beth followed me. I screamed at her daily, telling her to leave me alone, but she would only give me a look of pity reserved for those that are truly in despair. Eventually, by the time I was 14, I gave up on trying to make her go away, and instead, I made peace with her.”
“So what was Beth? A ghost?” I tried my best not to sound like I didn’t believe her.
“More or less. A spirit without rest. She still won’t tell me exactly why she’s around.”
A chill ran down my spine as gooseflesh crawled across my skin. “Still?”
Sarah nodded and looked back over to the couch. “She’s sitting right there.”