Sometimes I hate my best friend. No, that's not right. Sometimes I'm so insanely jealous of my best friend that I want to punch her in the face. Then I remember that she's my oldest and dearest friend and that's an awful thing to be thinking and my fists uncurl and I smile and try to be a good friend.
It's hard, though, because Martha is the freaking Chosen One. Chosen by whom, you ask? Freaking everyone, that's who.
When she was eight years old she was abducted by aliens. Right there in broad daylight, one minute we're playing in her back yard and then the next minute there's this huge spaceship hovering over us and then she's floating into the air in this beam of light. Did the aliens want me? Of course not. I'm left there sitting in the grass just watching, and then I'm the one screaming and running, and then I'm the one being worried and miserable for three days until they finally bring her back. She went on this amazing adventure and met all of these aliens and stopped some sort of interstellar war or something, and then they brought her back none the worse for wear and having learned important lessons about herself. All very sci-fi kid's movie.
And sure, I was jealous. Martha didn't even like science fiction. But it's not like it was her fault, so I got over it. I admit that at least some of that forgiveness came from her letting me try out her anti-gravity boots. Those things were awesome.
When she was ten she stumbled into Fairyland. We're walking through the woods and she stepped behind a tree and just vanished. At least that time she came back before I'd even finished running around frantically screaming her name. Of course for her it was like a month or something, and she came back wearing this fancy tiara and missing her shadow - which, I might add, no one else ever seems to notice is missing. She let me try on the tiara, but I didn't like how wearing it made everything look all bright and wiggly.
When she was eleven her uncle died and left her this creepy locket. Then it was a week of her acting funny leading up to the next full moon, and then I gather there was a lot of spooky stuff and ultimately she managed to banish the ghost that haunted it or whatever. I would have liked to have met the ghost, at least.
The year after that was the time travelers and the secret civilization of tiny people living under the house. No, wait, the first time travelers were the year after that. That year it was talking squirrel. It's all started to blur together, to be honest.
These days it feels like there's a new crazy thing every week, and yet somehow I never manage to actually be a part of things. Sometimes I get to enjoy the last dregs of her adventures, which is more than most people get, I suppose. I've gotten to pet a unicorn and a sea monster and a couple different kinds of dinosaur (brontosaurus and triceratops). And yes, I did get to go for a ride on the pegasus. I mean, wow. Most kids would kill for any of those, right?
But Martha's been to the moon, to the bottom of the ocean, to various different time periods, to five or six alternate universes (including two where I'm evil, apparently), and a bunch of different alien planets. She's fought monsters and ninjas and aliens and robots and alien robots and secret government agencies. She's been turned into a horse, turned into a dragon, shrunk down to the size of a mouse, and shrunk down to the size of an ant (which was way cooler, I'm told). She's had super powers, swung magical swords, shot laser guns, shot old-timey flintlock guns, piloted spaceships, and driven a giant robot. She's DRIVEN A GIANT ROBOT. How can you not hold that against someone?
Well, I can see that it all takes a toll on her. There's the missing shadow, of course, but she's also got this futuristic mechanical arm that I guess she has to keep secret...though I've often thought that's also kind of something to be jealous of. I gather she has a lot of weird dreams, some of which are probably also adventures. I guess she's been in love with various princes or cute aliens or whatever who either die tragically or who she has to leave behind tragically. So it's not all fun and games.
And it can be lonely, sometimes. She's told me how much she wishes she could tell people about all of this stuff, but no one else would ever believe her. I'm the only one she can talk to about any of it. She knows I'll believe her. So I do get to feel at least a little special. I shouldn't complain or hold it against her.
Heck, if we hadn’t met when she was six I’d probably still be trapped in that magic mirror.