He was six at the time when we first met. He and his parents walked through the door and I waved at them from the steps. Bernard's parents were busy bringing in suitcases and didn't notice. For the first few days they were in the house, I didn't bother them too much. They had to get settled in, and I had to get use to living with other people again. I would pass by Bernard and he would wave and I would wave in return, but we never exchanged words. It is possible that one, or both of us, were just too shy to speak. We still enjoyed our exchange.
One day, about a month after Bernard's family moved in, he came up to me slowly, nervously, with his hands behind his back. I smiled at him and he smiled back.
"Hi," was all Bernard said, as he swayed nervously.
"Hello," I replied.
We stared at each other for a few seconds.
"What's your name?" he asked.
"Belleena. You’re Bernard, right?"
He smiled. "My friends call me Barney."
"Can I call you Barney?" I asked.
He smiled a big toothy smile. "Yeah!" he said excitedly and ran off, blushing.
I chuckled to myself.
A few more days went by and he didn't talk to me again. He was sitting on the living room floor, playing with his toys one day, when he finally spoke to me again.
"Wanna play building blocks with me?" he asked.
"I would love to, Barney, but it is hard for me to grab things these days. I can watch and talk to you if you want, though."
"Ok," he said as he continued playing.
From that day on, he would talk to me on a daily basis. He would tell me about kids at school, sports he liked, TV shows he watched, and anything else he felt like on any given day. Whenever he had friends over, he would introduce me to them, but they would just look at him like he was strange and they would go play. A few times when Barney and I were talking, his mom came in and asked who he was talking to.
"Belleena," he would simply say. She would smile and walk away.
This went on for a few more years, up until he was about ten. Although we continued to talk, his parents became less and less patient with him talking to me.
"Don't you think you are getting a little old to be talking to Belleena?" his parents would ask.
"Am I too old to talk to you? She is about the same age as you guys," Barney would answer, confused.
His parents would frown. "What we mean is getting too old for imaginary friends."
"Belleena is not imaginary!" Barney yelled, outraged at the comment. He began telling them things I told him and I shook my head. He told them how he knows about the fight they had and the person in the suit who came by with paperwork. He told them about the trip they were planning to go on before they told him the news, and how angry he would have been if he didn't know beforehand. Their mouths dropped and they sat there in silence.
"How do you know this?" Barney's dad asked.
"Belleena told me. She said I should know before you guys tell me."
"How come we haven't seen her?" Barney's mom asked.
"Because... she is a ghost. She tried to say hi to you guys, but you never said anything to her. You would just ignore her, even when she waved," Barney explained.
Barney's mom and dad looked at each other. "Well, that explains a few things! Usually, I don't believe in these kinds of things, but there is no way that Bernard could know anything about what we said."
They apologized to Barney for getting annoyed with him, and to me for not saying hi or waving back. From that day on, they accepted me into their lives, as well, and I talked with Barney until he started ignoring me. The older he got, the less we talked, but I accepted it.
Now Bernard is a grown man with a young girl of his own. Maybe one day I will decide to wave to her and she will wave back. Then, I will have someone to talk to again.