Toaster and Marshmallow

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The dull, low tone of a ring filled my ears with anticipation, making me question if I’ll ever hear my once inseparable friend’s voice, knowing the true answer to my query. We had been bosom buddies for eleven straight years but it only seems like seven. The reality that we haven’t really been pals for the past four years rattles my heart but is still somewhat accepting it over time. The change in us was not sudden or drastic. It was a gradual change that took place in us, we equally contributing as much as the other. In a sense we both have done things to each other not actually considering the consequences it had to make the rift between us grow deeper and more vague, tearing us apart memory by memory, us not minding the gap but accepting oblivion as the easy way out. I never thought I would unrealistically attempt to dial this worn-out number even one last time, debating why I even bother to create a sense of effort in our so-called friendship, ready to pry my jittery hands from the sweaty receiver to save me from stupidity. In the antiquity I averaged twice a day at calling Marley’s home phone number. Now the rate has lowered down to once every three months, usually concerning carpooling issues and no gossip, boys, or deepest darkest secrets. I used to have a trigger in my mind when I picked up a phone that the number I need to dial is Marley’s, sending a message to my fingers to punch in the familiar digits, causing me to dial hers instead.


Silently waiting for Marley to answer the phone I block out all the yelling and squabbling from my older siblings, pacing the floor casually for me to occupy myself in the mean time.
“Hello?” she picks up the phone in a muffled voice.

“Hi Marley, can ya play?” I ask patiently, wondering unnecessarily if she’ll be able to.

“Um, sure. Front ‘r Back?”
When we played together we had some sorts of slang to our even then poorly enunciated speech. “Front” was known as the road that connected our bipolar homes to each other and “Back” was a parallel to our homes but more adventurous if it even could get any better. Our houses were 400 feet away from one another, two other homes squished in between both of ours. Back then, in my closed mind, Marley’s house was a duplicate of a mansion, with the wide, spacious rooms and beautiful architecture. On the other hand my house was an anthill with only three bedrooms and a tiny cubicle-shaped and small-sized deck. Not only in size were our houses different but the so was the aura. With two crazy sisters and wild brother my house wasn’t as picturesque as you would make it out to be. The four cats and one dog just add to the matter, making it extremely difficult to create any sort of peace in the vicinity. Marley’s home had the perfect Kennedy air to it. With my clutter filled rooms that sends chills down everyone’s spine compared to her spotless rooms and floors that could trump my grandma’s, there are often mixed emotions of where should we spend our time.
“Back, I guess,” I decide, “But’ll hafta hide if I see Hailey.”

Hailey is a girl two years younger than us who were forced to play with against our will. She lives in a red house between ours and was annoying to boot. Marley and I used to be very unfriendly and bad-tempered while we were in the midst of her presence. When I look back on how we treated Hailey I’m disgusted with my cantankerous behavior. All a kid ever wants is to have fun and when your that ignorant you don’t realize you’re hurting people’s feelings in the process. We were two years to her senior so it was difficult to enjoy a warm summer day while playing “Indians” or “House.” Instead of enduring the boredom of playing with her we instead made up excuses so she couldn’t come over.

“Yer not gunna see ‘r. She left with ’r mom a long time ago.”

I sigh. “That’s good. I thought’d never get a break this year.”

“Yeah, she’s been extra clingy this summer…Are we gunna go halfway?”

I performed an exasperated noise, “Duh! See ya there. Bye!” I hang up the phone, running to find my old, worn-out flip-flops before deciding to go barefoot. Opening the screen door, letting humid, summer air into the house, I run outside making sure my feet aren’t too hesitant on the hot, dry wood that was trying to fry my feet. Soon the dry, crisp grass pricked at the sensitive parts of my feet, stabbing them like it pin needles. I cringe in discomfort, knowing that going shoeless wasn’t the best of my ideas. Squinting in the direction of Marley’s backyard, I saw a tiny speck that grew bigger and bigger until I can finally make out the shape of her face.

“Marshmallow!” I scream.

“Toaster!” She yells back.

Somewhere along our friendship we gave each other different nicknames, the most common ones being Marshmallow and Toaster. Marshmallow was Marley since its looked like her name and mine vice versa. Whether you can deny it or not, Toasted Marshmallow or Marshmallow Toast sounds great together.

After acknowledging each other, we race toward the cottage, letting the wind whip our sunburn faces and blow our hair back out of our faces.

The cottage consisted of two mangled dead bushes that no one has ever bothered to chop down. It was the medium between our two houses. We dubbed it the cottage for no apparent reason and called it our in between home besides our own. We always met at the cottage when we wanted to play.

When we both finally reached the cottage, we catch our breaths, our hands clinging to our chests, feeling the fast thump of our hearts against the sternum. I take in deep breaths to help calm down my adrenaline-based body, breathing fully out of my stomach the correct way. Finally we have calmed down and we can manage to squeak out a few words.

“ Where d’ya wanna play?” I ask, my heart rate almost back to normal.

“Is yer house okay? My dad is takin’ a nap doesn’t wan’ us to bother him,” she replies grudgingly.”

“That’s okie dokie!”

We start walking towards my house with no anticipation in our steps, dodging some dog droppings on the way.

When we reach my house Sunshine, the family dog is in the backyard chasing a ball that was being thrown by my brother, Matt. I pass them not paying attention to him with Marley following suit. We enter the house, heading straight for the kitchen our safe haven.

Eating has always been a connection in our friendship; loving to snack on anything we can get our hands on. As we enter the cool, dry room we’re greeted by my mother’s soft voice,

“Hey Marley Moo. How’re you?

“Very good, Mrs. G. Thank you,” Marley replies politely.

I roll my eyes at her civility, “ Mom,” I beg, “can ya make some food?”

“Tori it’s helpie-selfie for snacks” she replies before disappearing into another room.

I sigh begrudgingly before raiding through the disorganized cabinets, searching for something to shove our faces with, finally noticing Tortilla chips, our favorite thing to snack on. Opening the bag I receive a waft of salty air through my nose. I crush my teeth in a crisp chip, my tongue screaming with joy at the taste of something salty and pass the bag on to Marley. Outside, my brother and Sunshine had come in the house. I noticed dark clouds beginning to form and the sky turning an endless gray. Not long after are our tongues are sore and lips sensitive from the salt on the chips, we hear a hard pounding coming from the roof, not really processing what the noise was when finally one of us realized it was rain and voicing it aloud to the other. For a moment we listen to the angry sound of the rain while it accelerated its speed toward the ground.

“Ya wanna go outside?” I ask, finally breaking the silence, and grinning from ear to ear.

“Sure,” she decided without much hesitation.
We get off the chairs and enter the outside domain, our bare feet sinking in the moisture rich ground. The splashing our faces wakes a part of us, bringing out the eccentricity in us that we’re afraid to let anyone see. After running a bit around the yard, we settle in the grass and start dancing in the rain, our bodies moving to the steady beat of the rain, voices screaming at the unfamiliar rush we feel in our souls. We start to sing all the songs with the term “rain” in them:
“It’s raining men, Hallelujah!”
“I’m singin’ in the rain…”
We then even more crazy decided to make our own rain song, horribly composed but very well performed, repeating more than once.
Rain gives you less time with your friends but with Marley and me we had more time expressing ourselves in it. On the other hand telephones, the mean of communication, separated us even more.

“Hey it’s Marley. Leave a message,” the answering machine spits out.
I sighed knowing the bet in my head won, taking the cash prize and my hopes with it as well. There is a tiny part in me wishing we could go back to the way things were when we were Toaster and Marshmallow. Deep down inside I knew that would never happen. How can you make a friendship work if only one person wants to be in it? I may never know if Marley would want to remain friends after high school started. The fact that we have parallel lives doesn’t help us to find time to spend together. With whole different lives it’s hard to agree on something important or unimportant.
Although so much has changed between us I can still count on her to share a secret or reminisce about the good ol’ days. Dressing up like fools will always be a favorite pastime as will slip ‘n slide in the ditch. We both showed each other how to live while never having a fight. If we did it only last a day or two usually about the dimmest thought known to mankind. When we first met each other we were just two innocent toddlers that grew to be good friends. I don’t know what the future will bring because anything is possible I suppose. Maybe we’ll be inseparable again or we won’t say another word to each other. Despite whatever comes we will still have our memories…Marley and me.





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