Making close friends can be a little bit tough for a kid whose perception is that the world around him is disappearing.
Ben does have friends at school who seem mostly cool. They are nice enough, and never feed into the rumor going around that he is nuts. But he never gets the feeling that they are completely convinced he is not crazy.
It’s most obvious when he talks about places and sims that he knew were real the day before; but today nobody remembers that they had ever existed. It gets to be pretty scary sometimes, especially when he wonders if somebody he really cares about will ever “disappear”.
Staying busy is one way he keeps himself from thinking about it. He’s pretty good at sports, and is always one of the first to get picked during pickup kickball games. He has Papa Mark to thank for that. Actually, with his Papa around, there is no way NOT to be active and fit. His dad seems to be one of Papa Mark’s favorite targets. Because his dad sometimes forgets to exercise. That, plus the few too many hamburgers he eats seem to add up pretty fast.
But honestly, sports is not his “thing”. Spending time with his family helps. He really likes when Aunt Mary and Aunt Dara bring their families over to visit. Ben is glad his Papa remembers them, because it helps to keep his mind off of the “problem”.
Other than his family, and those few kids at school who do not openly call him insane, there is nobody he can really call his friend. Even the kids who used to hang out and play Action Rangers with him when he was younger have all stopped coming over. Doctor Kennedy is the only other friendly face he can trust. She encourages him to continue making his lists of “broken stuff that needs to get fixed”.
His mom has seemed to warm up to Doctor Kennedy, too. He was kind of shocked to learn that Doctor Kennedy is also a mom. He found this out when she had to graciously decline dinner at the estate to spend time with her own child. Ben wonders why she never mentioned it before. Maybe one day they’ll get to hang out together.
When the time comes for Sarah’s birthday, Ben is thrilled to have somebody to play with again. Sarah seems to be a bit of a wander-bug, though.
She drags the two of them all over Sunset Valley, exploring for treasure. It only takes a few days after her birthday for them to become inseparable best friends. And although it is the sibling bond which forges their friendship at first; it is a frightening encounter, early one evening, which ensures that it will endure their entire lifetimes.
Because inside of a small sunken cave at the beach, Ben Barimen and his sister Sara come face-to-face with a ghostly apparition.