Every imaginary friend gets left behind at some point, and Quarter had said more goodbyes than the majority of his friends combined. Some didn’t take it well; but Quarter had found a way to separate his “imaginary” self from his true self. The break ups were always difficult and sad, but when the friendship was complete – which was how he saw it – he got to return home and play in his garden. The children always marveled at the idea that he had a garden.
How do you hold the watering pale? Jeremy had asked him, uncertain of how an elephant could grip a handle with no fingers or opposable thumb.
Well that’s quite simple, Quarter had responded, thinking of an answer that wouldn’t reveal his use of magic. With my trunk!
In his own home, Quarter was Frederick. Every Friend had two names: one you are born with, the other – and arguably more special of the two – is given to you by your first Child. Frederick had been his given name at birth and Jeremy had given him the name Quarter.
Frederick had been willed into existence by the boy during his last summer before kindergarten. Jeremy had speech troubles and was nervous that his future classmates would make fun of him. This anxiety and helpless desire for a friend allowed him to see the little blue elephant with poofy, cotton-filled ears.
Jeremy’s favorite book at the time was about a stuffed bear named Corduroy, who came to life in a toy store. The first time he saw Frederick, the animated elephant reminded him of this and he shouted ‘Cordur! Cordur!’ The speech troubles prevented him from forming the full name, but that’s what had stuck even after he overcame the difficulties. From then on, Frederick had been Quarter.
Once you’re given a name by a Child, it sticks forever. Every Child after the first somehow just knows the name, even though they believe they’ve come up with it themselves. Frederick was thrilled to have such a good name and such a happy story to go along with it. He found it was quite appropriate, given that a Quarter is always a piece to a greater whole and the whole purpose of Friends was to help someone become themself. As Quarter, he was meant to be part of something greater than himself. In this, he took great comfort.
As Frederick, he’d become quite the mentor in his community. Having been a Friend to so many children, he was the one many turned to when it came time for their split. It’s never easy saying goodbye to someone you love, Frederick would always say, but it’s better to begin the ordeal knowing that you must only see them to a certain point.
He would often walk the young ones through the garden, explaining children like flowers. If you hover over them, they’ll never get enough sun and they’ll never bloom; but for a while, you must make sure they receive just enough of this and that, plus lots of love, in order to become the most beautiful of blossoms.