Blue’s first friend was a young girl named Kya.

They first met at Blue’s fifth birthday party, which was held in a small park a few blocks from Blue’s home. Her parents had rented a bouncy house, and since the bouncy house was larger than the small square of grass that passed as their backyard, Blue’s father had called town hall, made all the proper requests, and fill out all the required forms necessary to move the party — and the bouncy house — to the park for a September afternoon.

Kya was the last of the children to arrive at the party. Being last was enough to make Kya stand out, but the young girl distinguished herself in a number of other ways. She arrived with no parents, at least none that Blue could see, which was alarmingly against the rules set forth by the party invitations sent out by her mother and magnetically enviable for its audacity and nerve. She also arrived, to Blue’s annoyance, without a gift, which seemed awfully presumptuous and a good bit rude.

Most unusual, of all the unusual things about Kya, was that Blue had never seen or met the girl before.

She’s probably new in school, Blue thought to herself. My mother probably met her mother, felt sorry for her and invited her.

“Thank you for coming. This party’s for me.” Blue extended her hand to the girl.

“I know,” the girl said. She didn’t accept the handshake offer.

“I hope you don’t think I’m rude, but did you bring a present? I don’t ask because it’d be for me and all. I ask, because there’s a table for them, and if you didn’t know where to put it — if you brought one — I’d be sad if it got lost.”

“I couldn’t bring a present,” the girl said. ” I hope that doesn’t make you angry.”

Blue was again annoyed. Not only did the girl not bring a present, but she said she couldn’t, which meant her family might be poor, and if they were poor, then Blue felt bad for judging the girl rude for something she couldn’t help.

“I’m not angry.” Blue shared a smile as wide a she could manage. “I’m glad my mother invited you anyway.”

“Your mother didn’t invite me.” The girl’s eyes got sad. “Unless your mother can see ghosts, too? Can she see them? The way you can?”

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