There's too little time in your life, you know? The times you do have pass by far too quickly, making you unappreciative (at the time) of the little you have. I learned this far too early, from when I was very young.
I lived in an orphanage, with a dozen other girls. Every other month, it felt like, a girl would be pulled away from us and put with a family. But not me. For some reason, no one ever wanted to adopt me. There was nothing wrong with me. I was a fairly pretty girl, with long blonde curls far below my shoulders. I was as sweet as orphans came, and innocent too. I was never the one to get in trouble, always following the rules. I never tattled, which kept close relationships with the other orphans. Every other week, it felt like my best friends were being dragged into a world I longed to be in. A world where people loved me. Of course, I had my stationary friends, who were the absolute best.
Christy; a Scottish girl whose parents died in a car crash. She was a year older than me and my absolute muse. I loved everything about her, but mainly the fact that she could think up the best comebacks in any situation.
Addy; an American whose been away from America for so long that she's lost her accent. She was half a year younger than I, and loved drawing. Her drawings were about as good as drawings got, to put it simply.
Hailey; she lost her family at the age of five in a fire, and almost immediately came to the orphanage after (when I was three). I wasn't sure if she liked me half the time. She was adopted about a year ago, but we all kept in touch.
Riley; the girl who was practically my sister. We both arrived at the orphanage as babies within months of one another. We liked everything that the other liked. She liked singing, so did I. She liked writing, so did I. We always joked about that.
There were plenty of other girls who went through the orphanage, but these four had been there with me the longest. I needed them, and I was pretty sure they needed me.
But, like I said, sometimes we're unappreciative of the little time we have.
For years we all played together when we could. We played dolls together- Hailey as the Queen, Riley and I as princess sisters (Riley always played a lost sister and I always played the spoiled one), Addy as the dragon, and Christy as the clever witch. It was a good dynamic, and our stories were always exciting. Sure, every once and a while we fought, like all friends do. But we all became friends again in the end.
But when Hailey turned twelve, our dynamic completely changed. Hailey didn't want to play dolls. Eleven year-old Christy was still open to it, trying to get Hailey to play. And every once and awhile she would. But Christy grew out of the dolls too, leaving only three of us to play. And as the seasons changed, so did we. Only Addy was left with her love of dolls, and she soon started playing with the younger children, often blowing us off for them. We drifted apart from her, saying things such as "dolls are stupid, anyways," and insulting her and the young ones. Thankfully, she too outgrew dolls, allowing our group to once more be together.
When I turned fourteen, Hailey, who was sixteen, was adopted. She'd been shocked, but was clearly as thankful as she could possibly be. We were all devastated to see her go, of course. Christy had cried, and Addy had desperately tried to help her out. Riley and I were sad, of course, but not terribly hurt. Christy had gone through a period of depression after Hailey left.
A year passed. Calls from Hailey had been weekly since her departure. But all of our friendships were weakening, and we all knew it. As we got older our interests and motivations swerved. Christy grew extremely moody, which we all assumed was due to Hailey's departure but with time I wasn't sure. Addy became lost in her thoughts and drawings often, becoming more of an introvert than the wild extrovert she once had been. And Riley… she was often frustrated at me. I got lost and drowned in schoolwork, focusing hard on it. Riley didn't like that- she wasn't so serious about it. She just didn't have the notion to learn as I did.
It was soon that our group had spilt entirely. Riley and I- once at sisterly closeness, could want nothing more to do with one another. Christy had to see a psychiatrist, who soon adopted her. And Addy, poor Addy, grew sick. You might think that'd drive us all closer, but the exact opposite happened. We all fought about Addy. That's what drove us apart. But we all visited the dying girl, despite our new hatred for one another.
Seeing Addy die was horrible. I was the only orphan who was present, the others were adults. I was awfully surprised that no one else attended. Watching Addy's life fade before my eyes was a real eye-opener. And I began to realize how much my life- what I did with it- mattered.
I look back on these times now with a bittersweet smile. "Don't mourn, celebrate the life she lived," a stranger in the hospital had told me. That sentence, that quite, will forever be engraved in my memory. I shut my diary, wiping away a tear. It's been a year exactly since Addy died. No one has recovered. It's around midnight, but that's okay. Sometimes you need to reflect on your past.
I light up my nightstand with my flashlight, and push the diary into a secret compartment that I'd found. I've always been thankful for having the bottom bunk. I shut off my flashlight, and stare at the wood frame above me.
Riley had once slept in the bunk above me. Riley now sleeps across the hall.
I can't change that, I can't change nothing. Not the Addy fight. Not Addy's death. Those things are permanently engraved in time. Do I regret letting the drift happen?
Do I miss Addy?
Do I miss Riley?
I don't know. For God's sake, I don't know.
I close my eyes, but thoughts still race through my head. The subject of Hailey comes up. Am I jealous of her? Instantly, I know the answer.