Sunshine

By

Sparkling Acrobat

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Hi. My name is Starthia, but most people call me Star. I am twenty-five years old no, wait, maybe I am twenty-one? Twenty-six? Anyway, I'm old enough to get married and young enough to be part of a light-hearted love story. I'm in my room right now, feeling extremely bored. My room is all white, and I stay in here most of the time. I don't like being outside very much, because it is so colorful that it hurts my eyes. That is also why my room is so white, and why it doesn't have any windows; I like it this way. There is a bed in one corner, a desk next to it, and a circular table in the middle of the room with a pretty, laced tablecloth on top that is where I sit when my friends come to visit me. My friends are all very nice, and they come frequently because I don't like to go out. There are seven in all. Actually, there are eight now, and I'm very happy about that, because I like my new friend a lot.

My friends are very interesting people, and are not at all alike. For example, there is Katie. Katie is seven years old, but she is in fifth grade because she is extremely smart and very artsy. She painted the landscape that is hanging from one of the four walls of my white room when she was six. Then, there is also Rogert. He is thirty-five years old and has been married three times. His wives died before he could have a son or daughter, and I guess that's why he treats Carolina and I as if we were his kids. Carolina is another friend of mine. She is an eighteen-year-old writer, always the creative one, but she is also the one who gets into all kinds of trouble to find "inspiration". I bet that if she were writing this, it would be much much better. Oh – and I also have two friends who are twins, Tyler and Sarah. I've always been fascinated by them because they act as if they knew what the other one was thinking. Wouldn't it be awesome to have someone like that? Someone to you could share your thoughts? Someone who would understand you completely! I marvel at the idea, but I don't have a twin. I only have one sister who is a year older than me. Her name is Sunshine. She looks very much like me, but we are completely different. She is very shy and mystical, whereas I am outgoing and loud. I love her very much, though that is why I count her as one of my friends. The last one is Joe, the most hyper, sugar-overloaded eight-year-old anyone could ever imagine. Joe loves to play the violin and the piano and he is very good at it too; sometimes, I'll fall asleep while he plays Moonlight Sonata, my favorite song.

So, those are my friends at least the old ones. Then there is friend number eight: Taylor Sparks. I met Taylor four months ago. Sunshine had brought him home with her to work on a project, and I smiled at him brightly when my sister introduced us. He had looked at me weirdly, as most people do; but when Sunshine left, he saw me. We talked for a while and he kept asking me when Sunshine would come back. I shrugged every time. "How should I know," I used to say to him. I mean, I didn't even know where my sister had gone. She was always coming and going so mysteriously. Taylor came back periodically after that, sometimes alone, sometimes with Sunshine. Eventually, he stopped looking at me weirdly, and then, he started to bring games that we could play. I discovered that I loved Monopoly even though I could never win against him. The only thing I didn't like about being with Taylor was that my other friends wouldn't show up. They didn't like him.

At the beginning, they didn't care about Taylor coming to my white room and talking to me; sporadically, one of them would sit with us. Once, Taylor came when Katie and I were discussing the painting she was working on, one of a beautiful unicorn. He had brought a tub of chocolate ice cream with him and when Katie saw it, her face lit up. She loves ice cream very much. Taylor smiled at me and placed the ice cream on the table; he asked me if I liked the flavor but Katie yelled "Yes!" before I could even open my mouth. I giggled at that. Taylor took two bowls and two ice cream spoons out of his backpack and placed them on the table.

"Why don't you come sit with me," he said.

I nodded and went with him, but then I saw that Katie was not coming.

"What's up, Katie," I asked her.

She frowned in her cute little way. "He's not giving me ice cream," she said and her voice sounded as if she was about to cry. I tilted my head, slightly confused, and then looked at Taylor, who was looking at me equally as confused.

"Katie thinks you are not going to give her any of your ice cream," I told him. He looked even more confused, and somehow worried.

"Katie?"

It took me a second to realize that he probably had not seen her. I giggled at the thought, Taylor couldn't see past his own nose. So I turned to point her out so that he could give her ice cream. But she was not there anymore. I frowned. She had probably run off while I was talking to Taylor Katie was so very sensitive.

After that time, my friends had stopped showing up when Taylor was around. I think they had heard from Katie that he didn't like to share ice cream. I thought it was totally unfair, because Taylor had not seen her. He told me so. However, when I tried to explain to them, talking about Taylor made them mad, and so I try my hardest to avoid it. Except when I am with Sunshine.

My sister is the only one who actually likes Taylor, and she would always tell me what he had done that day at school when she came back. But I wasn't the least bit surprised that she liked him too, because Sunshine and I were very close, maybe not like Tyler and Sarah, but we were definitely a part of each other. It was always kind of sad that Sunshine wasn't in my room much. She always says she is very busy with college. I am very glad I am not going to college because I am very happy with my life as it is now. Well, almost happy. There is still one thing that I didn't, don't, and won't like: Mrs. Mom. Yes, that's her name. I don't know her last name; she never told me and I never asked.

Mrs. Mom has been coming to my white room ever since I can remember. She is old now, but still dresses all in white. She talks about how I feel, she asks me about my friends, especially Sunshine, and she is always happy to hear about Taylor (although I don't say much). I remember one time that she came into my white room when all seven of my old friends were there. This time was almost the same. I heard the knock on the door, and it was opened without my permission. Mrs. Mom stood there in all her whiteness. As usual, Sunshine left as soon as she saw Mrs. Mom. She always did that; she always left crying when the woman in white came. Mrs. Mom smiled at me and completely ignored my friends.

"The nerve of this woman!" Carolina said, but she didn't lift her head up from where she was writing at my desk.

"She always comes to ruin our fun," Tyler said, and Sarah, who was beside him, nodded.

"Well, not this time," I said. I was frowning as hard as I could at the woman, thinking maybe that would make her go away.

"Darling, who are you talking to," Mrs. Mom asked.

Joe scoffed. "Is she blind or what?"

"To my friends," I explained, as if she was dumb. She was not even trying to look around to see them. I swung my arm so that she would follow it and look at them.

Her eyes widened. "Oh my, I'm really sorry. I hadn't seen you all there." She smiled at them, and then came to sit with me in my bed. Rogert had to move because she almost sat on top of him.

"How rude," he said, but he was too mature to insult her further.

"How have you been feeling, Star?"

Mrs. Mom took a strand of my black hair and curled it with her hand. She liked to do that a lot.

"Fine," I said.

"How is Sunshine doing? I haven't seen her in a while."

"Sunshine is just fine," I said. But then, evilly, I added, "She left when you came. She doesn't like you."

Mrs. Mom looked sad for a second, but recovered quickly. She pulled back and let go of my hair; I was glad of that, because I didn't like her touching me. She smiled again.

"Has Taylor come to visit you recently?"

"Hope he doesn't come ever again!" Katie pouted as she folded her arms.

I was not going to let her talk of Taylor like that in front of this woman. I looked pointedly at Katie and said, "Taylor is going to be around for a long time, so you better get use to it. I told you he didn't see you that time!"

Mrs. Mom looked at me and at Katie alternatively. "What?"

"Katie doesn't like Taylor," I told her. Mrs. Mom was definitely almost deaf because she could barely hear my friends talking.

She kept asking me questions about how I felt, how many times my friends had come to visit me, and if I had been eating well. I tried to answer everything as concisely as I could because I just wanted her to leave.

"It seems like you have been doing really well," she said.

I rolled my eyes. I was always well. I hadn't been sick one single day of my life. But before I could voice my thoughts, I heard a knock on the door. Mrs. Mom went to see who it was and smiled brightly when she opened the door to let the person in. I smiled brightly also after seeing who it was.

"Taylor!" I said.

He looked exhausted. Maybe he had probably come from college. He came to me and kissed my cheek as he always did.

"Hey," he said.

Mrs. Mom "coughed" to make us look at her, and I frowned.

"I'm going to go now," she said. "If there is anything you need, please call me."

"Will do, ma 'am," Taylor said.

And like that the woman in white left.

"How are you, Taylor," I asked while he was looking for something in his backpack. I tried to lean closer to see because Taylor always brought interesting stuff.

"Fine, I guess. I've had a lot of homework and all that stuff," he said. Then he raised his eyes from his backpack and looked at me. "How have you been?"

"Very well, thank you."

"Is Sunshine around," he asked, but he didn't try to look around at all, he was only looking at me. "I haven't seen her in a while."

"I haven't either." I shrugged. "She hasn't showed up lately. Maybe she has lots of homework like you do"

"Maybe so," he conceded, but he didn't seem too sure. Finally, Taylor pulled his arm out of the backpack. He was holding something red in his hand, something very red. I squinted at the sight of such a color.

"I saw this ribbon in a store before I came here, and I thought it would look so pretty in your black hair." He held the piece of bright fabric out for me to take, and I did, still eyeing it suspiciously.

"It's so red."

"You don't like it, do you?"

I looked up at Taylor. His gaze was fixed on me, and I thought he looked rather sad. I didn't like him being sad, so I gave him the red thing and turned. "Put it in my hair, please. I don't know how," I said.

I heard him chuckle and smiled. If this made him happy I would do it for him. I looked around the room as he tied the ribbon, and it struck me to see my white room so empty, with my friends not there anymore. I wondered where they had gone.

"It's a really pretty day outside," Taylor said when he was finished tying my hair up. "Don't you want to go out?"

I stiffened. He knew I didn't like the outside, didn't he? He knew it. What was he trying to do? Why he had asked that, I didn't know. I looked at him, horrified.

"No," I said quietly. "I don't like the outside."

"Why not?" He asked.

I went to my bed and sat in it; he followed and sat on the floor in front of me.

"It's too bright," I told him firmly.

"How do you know? Have you ever been out?"

"Not really," I admitted. "But I know. Sunshine tells me stuff, about how colorful and full of life it is, how everything is vibrant and makes you feel energized. She likes it."

Taylor smiled; he always did when I mentioned Sunshine.

"Those are all good things. Why don't you want to see it?"

I sighed. I didn't like where Taylor was going with this. "That's only Sunshine's view. Rogert says it's cruel, Carolina says it's not nearly as interesting as her stories, and Joe says that the kids are mean. None of my friends like it. Why should I?"

"I like it," he said. "Am I not your friend too?"

I looked at him. There was something very different about Taylor today; I knew there was. He was trying to get something out of me, probably something I didn't want to give.

"You definitely are," I said, smiling. And it was true, too. Taylor was my dear friend. I held my arms out and he hugged me. I really liked Taylor's hugs. They made me feel really warm inside.

I opened my eyes, still hugging him, to tell him how much of a friend he was to me, but before I could say anything, I saw Sunshine. She was walking toward me, and she smiled, but didn't say anything. Sunshine and I don't really talk much when other people are around, but I understood what she wanted me to do. I wished I hadn't.

I pulled away from Taylor and lay back in my bed.

"Is everything ok," he asked me, sounding concerned.

"Yeah," I whispered. "Sunshine wants to talk to you alone, so I'm just going to sleep for a while." I felt him kissing my forehead kindly and then he turned to see my sister.

The truth is, I never felt asleep. I couldn't. So I just moved around lazily until I could see them without them knowing I was still half awake. When I finally stopped moving and looked at them, I saw Taylor hugging Sunshine tightly, much as he had hugged me. He touched her dark hair and kissed it.

"I've missed you," he said.

"I'm sorry," my sister said, and she looked truly sorry. "She's so strong. I couldn't come before."

"You can't let this happen, Sunshine. You can't let her win over you," Taylor said.

Sunshine tried to get closer to him, but I don't think that was possible. I wondered who they were talking about.

"It's hard, Taylor. She is always there, always part of me. And she keeps them alive, too."

I knew Sunshine was sad then, because I was starting to feel sad too. But I had to shrug that feeling off because a new one invaded me when I saw what had happened. Taylor had leaned closer to Sunshine, and now his lips were on hers. My heart was racing, and I didn't know if it was because of Sunshine or because of me. I didn't know if I was happy, or jealous, or both.

Taylor moved away from her lips and resumed hugging her. Sunshine hugged him back, but she was crying.

"You are strong too." Taylor said, "I will be here, and your mom and dad will be here."

"I know," my sister said.

I was feeling something in my heart getting heavier and heavier. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Katie. She was running toward Taylor and Sunshine and she was crying mad.

"Stop this now!" Katie screamed when she was right in front of them. I wanted to tell her not to do it. "He is mean; he doesn't like us. Why do you do this?"

Taylor ignored her successfully, as most people did, but Sunshine couldn't ignore little Katie, just like I couldn't. Her eyes widened as she saw Katie's red, angry face looking back at her. My sister tried to hold on to Taylor's shirt, but soon released her grip on it. She was backing away, still looking at Katie, horrified. I felt her hurt, her fear, and her sadness, and it was all too much to resist. I wanted Katie to stop hurting her. I wanted Katie to let her and Taylor be together for once because I knew that Sunshine was happy when Taylor was around just as much as I was happy when he came to visit me. When Sunshine took another step back, I felt that it was enough. I woke up completely from my daze and Sunshine left.

"Katie!" I demanded.

Katie's little face turned to look at me and smiled. "You're back, Star! I've missed you so much," she said.

I frowned deeply at her. "That was mean," I told her, and her pretty features twisted into a sad expression. "You hurt Sunshine."

"I don't care," she spit out, angry again. "I don't like her anyway. She doesn't want me to be around."

"It's true. She doesn't want us to be around."

I lifted my gaze to see my other friends standing against the far wall behind Katie. Sarah was the one who had spoken.

"Star, what's going on," Taylor asked while I was trying to find an answer to their accusations.

I looked at Taylor. How could he not be affected by all of this? Did he not care that all these people did not like him or want him to be with Sunshine? Did it not matter to him that they didn't like Sunshine either?

"They don't want you to be here anymore," I told him.

I almost expected Taylor to have an emotional outburst, but he seemed clueless.

"Who are 'they'," he asked me.

"My friends." For the second time on the same day, I swung my arm to point to my friends. Taylor followed my movement and looked at them, but his eyes didn't widened like Mrs. Mom's had.

He turned back to look at me, his green eyes boring into mine. He really did seem sadder than ever. "I don't see anyone else in here, Star," he slowly said.

I frowned and looked at my friends. Katie and Carolina had left, but the others were still there. Why was Taylor not seeing them?

"Do you wear glasses," I asked him. I had never seen him doing so, but my friends were right in front of him and he wasn't seeing them that could not be right.

"No," he simply said. Taylor took my hand in between both of his. Immediately, my little hand was completely engulfed by his larger ones. "Star, there is no one else here."

"He lies!"

I looked at Tyler, who had yelled. I saw Sarah holding his arm and shaking her head as if to say 'no'; Tyler growled before stepping back.

"Why can't he see you," I asked them. I could not understand such a thing, but I wasn't too sure I wanted to.

Taylor was still looking only at me, and for the first time, his gaze made me nervous.

"I don't know, Star," Joe said. "Everybody else sees us. You see us. Sunshine does too, doesn't she?"

I nodded at Joe and smiled. I was relieved that his explanation seemed so reasonable. I turned to Taylor, no longer uncomfortable with the way he was looking at me.

I brought my hand up to touch his cheek. "You should go see an eye doctor, Taylor," I told him while smiling brightly. "I don't understand why you can't see them. They see you perfectly."

Taylor gasped and released my hand. He looked hurt, much like Sunshine had, and just as I felt with my sister, I didn't like to see him hurt.

"Star…" he whispered. And then he hugged me, tighter than ever. "I'm sorry," he said.

"For what?"

The feeling that Taylor was behaving weirdly came back. For a second, I even thought he was crying, but when he pulled back, he did not have a single tear in his eyes. They were a little red, though.

"Nothing," he said, trying to smile; needless to say, that didn't work out too well. "I'll come back tomorrow, ok?" Taylor walked toward his backpack to pick it up and he headed for the door. Just before going out, he turned and smiled at me. He eyes still seemed sad. "Hopefully," he said, "I'll get to see Sunshine a bit more soon."

I nodded, even though I didn't quite know what I could do about that. But it seemed to make him happier. Taylor waved and me, and then he was gone.

Immediately, Sarah rushed to me. The others followed her, and even Katie and Carolina were back.

"I'm so glad he's gone!" Carolina said.

But I wasn't glad at all. I missed him already, and I wanted him to come back, if only to be with Sunshine. She had come back, too. Sunshine was sitting on my bed, looking at me. She didn't say a word, nor did any of our friends look at her, but her odd smile told me more than a thousand words could. She also wanted Taylor to come back. I walked toward the bed and kneeled in front of her. A tear ran down her face and fell onto mine.

"Sunshine, don't cry. Please don't. I'm sorry."

I tried to make her stop, but she wouldn't, she couldn't.

"Oh, just let her cry, dear." I heard Rogert's usually mature voice. "She deserves it for what she intended to do."

I felt anger rising in me, but couldn't bring myself to turn and shout at Rogert, or at any of them. And even if I wasn't looking at them, I knew they were here in my white room. They hadn't always been, but once they came into Sunshine's and my life, they wouldn't go away. Ever. I couldn't move my gaze away from my sister's face, a face that was so much like my own. Suddenly, I felt very imprisoned: as I was looking at Sunshine cry, I couldn't stop myself from crying too. But I knew I wasn't crying for myself, just as I knew it wasn't my imprisonment I was feeling. I also knew it wasn't me who loved Taylor so much. Because deep inside me, I knew I wasn't feeling for myself; it was all Sunshine, the one who had been first. The real one.

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N/A: Hey guys!

So, I've finally uploaded one of my dearest babies :) Hopefully, it didn't terribly disappoint (or confuse) anybody. What do you think? Opinion, feedback, and/or reviews are welcomed! Love to hear them ~

Thanks for reading!

Cookies and Ice Cream,

SparklingA