By: J.J. Cheesman
Alex Stewart has been the absolute greatest best-friend that I could have asked for. But, that isn’t to say she didn’t have her quirks. First of all, some might say that Alex is a little… off. She was into spooky stuff. I mean, I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy a good horror movie now and then, but her bedroom was like Halloween year-round. She had plastic spiders on her walls, a creepy-ass mannequin that she had dressed in regular clothes with fake blood splattered on them, she even had orange and purple lights strung up all around her room. She never took any of it down. I have been friends with her since we both were eleven years old, and that stuff has been there ever since.
The other thing about Alex, was that she was sort of ditzy. I don’t mean she was stupid, she was very intelligent. I just mean, ever since we were little girls, she would always forget things. She’s always misplacing her keys or her phone, I can’t tell you how many times she’s locked herself out her own house. The most irritating part of her memory loss though, happened at night. I would always stay over at her house when we did sleepovers. I just always preferred being at her house over mine. Even with the creepy décor.
The thing is, often times, Alex and I would share her bed. We were both small framed girls. The two of us would lie in bed after Alex had turned off all the lights, and after a few minutes, we would start conversations. Meaningless really, she would ask me what boys in school I liked, or we would talk about shows we’ve seen, she would ask me about my parents, stuff like that. Not really important conversation, but I still remembered them. Then, the next day, when I asked Alex about are talk, or remembered something I wanted to tell her, she would have a puzzled look on her face.
“I don’t remember talking last night.” She had said, the first time I mentioned one of our talks.
“Uh, yeah, we were up for hours.” I had said. She thought for a moment and then shrugged.
“I must have been sleep talking, I go right to sleep usually, but I’ve been known to talk in my sleep.”
I was irritated when I found that out, how could Alex hold such coherent conversation and not remember a bit of it the next morning, even if she sleep-talks? Refusing to believe that she wouldn’t remember ANY of what I said to her at night, I asked again and again the next morning after I stayed over about our talk. Every time she would shrug and say,
“Sorry Jen, I was out.”
It baffled me, but I got over it after a while. Eventually I just stopped asking her about our talks, and I just accepted that she wouldn’t remember. As we grew older and I realized how forgetful Alex was anyway, it made a little more sense to me. But it still baffled me how much we talked and she still remembered none of it. It was a mystery to me. A mystery that went largely unanswered until we were seventeen years old.
It was Halloween, Alex’s parents were at some costume party and told us they wouldn’t be home until very late, and Alex and I were eating popcorn and watching horror movies. We had just begun watching one of my favorites, but Alex was fading fast.
“I have a headache; I’m going to go lie down.” She said. I turned to look at her spot on the love seat that sat back a bit from the recliner I was on.
“Okay, sorry you feel bad, I’ll probably pass out on the couch, get some sleep.”
“Okay, thanks.” She stood up, and walked down the hallway connecting the living room to her bedroom. I turned back to my movie, and began munching down on popcorn.
Fast forward twenty minutes, and I heard Alex open her door and step out of her room. I was still enjoying my snack, watching the screen intently as the movie had just reached its climax. I heard Alex plop down on the love seat behind me.
“Feeling any better?” I asked.
“Yeah, I think so.” She said weakly, “Why do you like this movie so much? It’s so violent.”
I laughed. “What do you mean? You love stuff like this, you’re the queen of creepy.” There was a long pause. Then said,
“I guess, hey, Jen?”
“Yeah?” I said.
“Promise you’ll never stop coming to see me?”
I stopped eating and my face grew red. What an odd thing for Alex to ask. I was about to begin college in a different town that year, but this was the first time that Alex said anything about it. It was odd, and I sat trying to think how to respond, when there was a clicking sound at the front door, and Alex’s Mom and Dad walked in through the front door that was placed a few feet to the left of the television.
“Welcome home!” I announced as Alex’s mom flipped the light switch next to the door, illuminating the room in a flash.
I blinked for a moment as my eyes readjusted. Alex’s parents did the same and when they looked around the room, Alex’s dad laughed, and her mother had a confused look on her face.
“Jennifer.” She said with an upward inflection.
“Yeah?” I asked.
“What is that doing in here?”
I was puzzled, but I turned to look at where she was pointing her finger.
Sitting on the love seat, in clothing spattered with fake blood, was Alex’s Mannequin.