Most of us start losing it about the time we enter school. Making things up, playing pretend, and inventing games wanes after that …
Reality arrives, and the forces of parenting, education, peer pressure, and societal influences give us dose upon dose of reality. Today media, social media, news, and fake news conspiracies have us over-dosing on reality with the clarity of picking fly droppings out of pepper with tweezers.
I’m missing childhood. Missing imagination.
Our planet wrestling with virus epidemics, political strife, railroad blockades, trade wars, and terrorism – and I yearn for something else to invade my silence.
I want an imaginary friend, like a brother or sister. I have no siblings. I’ve had friends, close and intimate relationships, as I imagine a brother or sister would be – in some cases I was wrong, they went away. In some other situations I know I was right, but they died. I try to find good friends, and I have a few who I hold close in my mind as if they were a brother or sister. I know they aren’t, but I like to pretend.
The imaginary friend is something I’ve struggled with – I can’t create one. I’ve tried, in the course of writing fiction, and I don’t have the first clue where to start. Maybe that’s a good thing…
I had imagined how my relationship with someone real might be – things I would say if we could meet, or things I wished I’d said when we did. It’s the closest I’ve come to having an imaginary friend, so on that front, I consider myself a failure. I’ll have to stick with real people, and real friendships – they seem to be the best kind, but sometimes they are the hardest kind because with close friends, as I imagine it is with siblings, nothing short of whole truth and frankness will do. The theory that this is safe is one I keep trying to prove with intermittent success. It seems some friends can’t do the reciprocal microscopic truth-telling, just as some family members can’t.
I’ve lost friends who were as close to me as any sibling relationship I’ve ever been told about, and I’ve lost a relationship with a daughter too – from telling the truth, and sometimes that doesn’t work.
Observers might say there is more to it than all of that. They are right, there is more to it. But shouldn’t the bonds of friendship and of family be stronger than that, to withstand all of that?
I wrestle with these thoughts and sometimes lose sleep over them. That’s when I try to imagine an imaginary friend, one who never leaves, never dies, and never hides anything.
I want one of those.
One should be enough, but two would be better and cover off the risk that one might not be a true friend after all, in which case I’d still have one imaginary friend.
They should be younger than me, the way children are younger than us – so they don’t die before us.
That might sound negative, but I’m following advice given me when I was in my mid 30’s, to make lots of younger friends because when you get old, a lot of them die on you.