My friend woke up with a wobbly tooth. In case you didn’t know, this is a major event in any six-year old’s life and it is my job as an imaginary friend to make sure it is memorable. I just hope she is up for the fun this entails. Ignoring me completely, the girl went down to her mother, who was busy making coffee in the kitchen. She said “Mommy, I have a wobbly tooth. It will fall off and the tooth fairy will give me money for it right?”
I was listening to that conversation with my fingers crossed. I was worried that her mother will tell her the truth about the tooth fairy. If she did, any job for me is done. Any spec of imagination this child has is gone, and that means I am gone too. I stood behind the kitchen door waiting for her mother’s reply. The mother opened the girl’s mouth. She examined the tooth, and then she said “Yes you do dear. Don’t play with it. The tooth fairy only comes to kids who don’t play with their teeth.” “Will I see the tooth fairy ?” the girl asked, “No dear, the fairy comes while you are sleeping. Now go get ready for school. ” The girl ran upstairs and I followed her, while sighing in relief for the fact that her childhood beliefs were not crushed.
Back in her room, my friend asked me “Marlin, what does the tooth fairy look like?” I replied, “I can’t tell you.” After all, I had to keep the fairy’s identity a secret. I paused for a few seconds and then I asked her, “What do you think the tooth fairy looks like?” She replied, “She is tiny. She has a bag of coins with her. She wears leaves, and she has wings an long golden hair. I heard she takes the teeth we leave under the pillow and she gives us a magic coin instead.”
“Hmmm, you are right.” I replied. After all, I am the imaginary friend so I believe what she believes remember?
That day, I followed my friend to school. I know that I have nothing useful to do for her in school. But, it was a big day and I felt I had to be around to save her from any disappointment.
I have to admit that I am a bit selfish in my intentions . I need my friend to still believe in the tooth fairy, because if she doesn’t then she will not believe in anything magical anymore. If she doesn’t believe in anything magical anymore, then she won’t believe in me. If she stops believing in me, then I will have to go. I know that you will probably tell me that it is ok for me to go and that there are other kids I need to care for. But, this kid is different. I can’t leave her now, our time is not up yet. Something inside me tells me that she will need me to stay around just a little longer. I just feel it, but I can’t explain it.
In school, she went excitedly to tell her best friend Rasha about the wobbly tooth and her much awaited visit from the tooth fairy. However, her friend told her that there was no tooth fairy. Devastated by the news, she asked her teacher if the tooth fairy existed. Her teacher, true to her profession to educate said “No dear, the tooth fairy doesn’t exist.” I was furious. “What kind of teacher crushes a kid’s dreams ?” I thought to myself, “Be realistic sure ! But, don’t hurt the kid in the process. ” I said.
I’m glad that no one hears what I say. I am only seen and heard when my friend decides to hear and see me. With those hurtful words from the teacher, the school bell rang announcing the start of the break. As the kids ran outside, my friend walked silently behind them. I could tell that she was deeply hurt.
She went to her little private corner in the playground to pull out her tooth herself. I ran to that corner, and I saw her crying. I wanted to cry too, but instead I shouted “Don’t pull out the tooth!” She looked at me in shock and said “Marlin?” with tears running down her cheecks , she said “The tooth fairy doesn’t exist. Why are you here ?” “I am here to stop you from doing something very stupid. “But, what do you care. You probably don’t exist too.” she said.
I am here aren’t I ? ” I protested, “look , Rasha doesn’t know about the tooth fairy because she pulls out her teeth herself. Don’t you believe that the fairy exists? Didn’t your mother tell you that she exists this morning?” My friend nodded in silence. “Then , who cares what anyone else thinks. If you believe then that is what is important. Be your own person ” I said.
My friend then wiped her tears, and she said “Marlin , I am so glad you are here. You are my best friend. I do believe!”
Three days later, her tooth did fall out. True to her promise, her mother did put her a coin under her pillow. But, in her mind my friend believed that the little fairy with blond hair, leaves and wings put the coin under her pillow for her.
After all, where would anyone be without their imaginary friends and their dreams.
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