My Friend Pugoso

By , long beach, CA

My name is Pugoso. I am what most people call an “Imaginary Friend” but I prefer to be called a companion. I do not look like most imaginary friends. I am a bright blue rhino, I have a lime green horn, and I can stand on my two hind legs. I am a companion to a boy named Max and my life's purpose is to always be with Max, to make sure I am always there for him when he needs me, and to try my best to keep him from being sad. It started when he was one year old. I appeared one day to see him there in his crib, drooling and babbling away. I was there to comfort him when his parents were in the other room, by dancing, singing songs, and hanging from his mobile. He would talk and I would pretend to understand what he was saying cause he was speaking his weird baby language that no one could understand. From a young age I was always with Max, and I always noticed how rude people were! Every time I would say hello to his parents I would be ignored as if I were dirt on the floor! But its ok, I have Max to be there for and I am perfectly fine with that. This was a daily thing between us, he would wake up and I would keep him happy by dancing, singing, and doing tricks on the mobile that most gymnast dream of doing. I am happy with how things are and wouldn't have it any other way.
One year later, Max is two years old and now he is trying to talk, but he doesn't always succeed to make sense or talk in full sentences. But on the bright side he was walking now. I would race him and always win because of him not being able to keep up on his chubby little legs. Every once in awhile though, I would let him win just so he wouldn't be discouraged. One of our favorite things to do at home is the box. The box is a huge cardboard box that we keep in the backyard. We like to pretend that we are in a spaceship blasting off to the moon, or in a race car racing one hundred other race cars, or even a safari looking at lions and giraffes and zebras. Other times we like to watch T.V with mom and dad. They care for us very much and now know that I exist from Max’s constant babbling.


“Pugoso!!” Yelled Max, who is now three years old, “Lets go!” I rush to his aid. “What is it?” I asked, curious about why he is going nuts screaming my name from the back yard. “I want to play.” He said. We decided on hide and seek. “You count and I’ll hide,” I said, “close your eyes and count to ten.”  I hide behind a bush as he closes his eyes. “One...two...three...five...ready or not here I come.” Yelled Max, uncovering his eyes. “Pugoso where are you?” He looks around for about two minutes then starts to cry from frustration of not being able to find me. “Psssttt. I'm over here!” I whispered, peeking around the bush. Max dried his tears and looked where I was hiding. “You found me!” I exclaimed, jumping up and down from excitement. Max smiled and laughed then started jumping with me.


Max is now four years old and it's his first day of preschool. I could tell he was nervous about being away from his parents for the first time ever. “Don't worry, I’ll be with you the whole time.” I said to him, comforting him the best I can. We walked in together with Max’s mom and as they were saying their goodbyes Max started to cry. “Don't cry,” Max's mom said, “I’ll be back to come get you soon.” She walked away and his teacher came over and took his hand to walk him to his table. “I'm Mrs. Monroe.” She said sweetly, “Its ok, you'll have a lot of fun here.” She sat him at a table with other little boys and girls. Max fit right in and started having fun with his new friends. They played war, painted, and went on the playground...all without me. That's when I noticed something strange. I was no longer the bright blue that I used to be. My skin, which used to be bright blue that you can see from across the room, is now a dull blue and gray color. I didn't think anything of it and went about my day following Max around, just like every other day.


I look over at him, Max is now six years old and is so different than how he used to look. It almost makes me sad to see him grow up. He had a play date today with his friend Johnny. “I'm excited to see him because I haven't seen him since school ended for summer,” exclaimed Max, smiling brightly and sitting on his bed looking out the window for Johnny to come. “Me either!” I said, “We can all play together and have fun all day.” Me and Max were looking at each other when we hear a car door close. Max leaped to the other side of the bed and looked out the window. “He's here!” Max yelled, “He's here! Mommy he's here!” He ran out the room and was downstairs in a flash. The door opened and both Johnny and Max ran to the backyard to play. “Wait for me!” I yelled, trying to keep up. By the time I got there they were already playing spy, hiding behind bushes, climbing the tree in the backyard, shooting pretend finger guns. “Hey guys I want to play to!” I yelled at them but they didn't seem to hear me. I watched from the corner of the backyard and watched my bright green horn slowly turn grey.


I have been with Max for seven years now. He is now a big brother to a baby named Hannah. He helps his mom take care of her while their dad is at work doing whatever he does for a living. Max feeds her, burps her, and dresses her. He's a good brother. Now I am no longer blue and green, but all grey and never energetic like I used to be. I'm constantly tired, sad, my skin is wrinkled. I have aged a lot since Max has been born and I look very old. Me and Max rarely play together anymore and he doesn't talk to me like he used to. I could feel myself getting weaker everyday.


Its finally happening. Max is nine years old and has developed every imaginary friend’s worst nightmare. A crush. The little girl’s name is Elena. She is in Max’s third grade class. She is pretty and seems nice but I now realize...it's the end of me. Max develops a crush and I am history. I have accepted it and have lived a long life. Today she is coming over to have a play date and I watch them from the corner play tag then suddenly, my arm was turning to ashes. Then my other arm and my legs were turning to ashes floating in the wind. I slowly lean back and wait...for my whole body to turn. “Bye Max.” I whisper, as my chest is turning into ashes now. I think to myself how it is ok that I am disappearing because I love Max and in order for him to grow up, I had to leave. “Love you buddy” I say one last time before everything went black.






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