The six of us have been best friends ever since we were little. We ran away from the babysitter into a nearby park and there, we created our very own fantasy world. It stopped to matter if we lived on a dreary concrete estate, or if we were all different. Within these gates, the rules were ours to make.
We could change into whoever we wanted to be.
The two-faced park became our second home: one side boasted of a neatly manicured field, playground slides and swings, cafés and outdoor seating. The second side was wild, tree branches reaching out to the sky in worship, their roots ripping through the ground, with foxes and birds that held court, the royals of these woods.
Lost behind the thick foliage was a crumpled shack, the brick foundation held up by ivy, and a solitary birch tree standing guard. We imagined it as the portal between worlds and loved to crawl there through the bushes every chance we had. Our parents would scold us when we returned with muddy shoes and torn-up trousers, but it only added to our sense of adventure.
The six of us grew up together – we shared our laughter and we shared our tears. We saw each other blossom into who we are now. Me, the oldest, scribbling away our stories with hopes of becoming a writer; Naddie, our leader, always collected and responsible; Max, the comic, turning things up a notch at every chance; Richie, quietly huddling in corners drawing masterpieces; and the twins: Jessica, who dances straight into the spotlight and Zach, who zones out until there’s a game to win. Together, we walk down a path that surely leads somewhere special.
But time doesn’t care that what we have is perfect. This year, Naddie, Max, and I are becoming adults, and we’ll be forced to figure out our future. Without our permission, the world is about to change.