I always wished that I had an imaginary friend. I was an inventive child, but not like the imaginative kids that conjure up a playmate to keep them company, become their partner in crime and their confidante. Imaginary friends are golden. They are always available to come out and play and they selflessly will take the fall for any misdeeds or mischief that is a prerequisite to having a good time. Even better, they know you better than you know yourself.
This weekend, I wondered if adults could have imaginary friends. Not the type of friends that you find on Facebook, but a real imaginary friend from childhood. For this three-day weekend, my imaginary friend would have convinced me to stay for a second “Kilt Lifter” with my Ladies Night Out friends and would have been my designated driver. Upon arrival home, my friend would offer a neck massage and ease me into a peaceful slumber. As the sun made a glorious appearance on Saturday, my friend would have helped me turn the soil and as we worked together, I would have had time to plant the garden, the same garden that is still untended. And since this friend knows me so well, I would be convinced that not everything can grow from seed and we would buy starters destined to grow during our short summer season. When we went to the Botanical Gardens, my friend would encourage me to do cartwheels and poses with my daughter telling me all the while not to feel self-conscious. My imaginary friend would make me feel free and uninhibited. My imaginary friend would make me laugh and remind me how good that feels.
On Sunday, my imaginary friend would lend his/her organizational skills and help me determine what to keep and what to purge as we went through box after box of “stuff” left over from various cross-country moves. I would see progress and not feel guilty as my imaginary friend coerced me to abandon the project and take a walk. My imaginary friend likes to walk, on paths, through nature, losing oneself in the beauty that is there if you just look for it. My imaginary friend would encourage me as I cooked, keeping me company and refilling my wine glass when I wasn’t looking. When it was time to write, my imaginary friend would fade away and then come back and stroke my words telling me they were worthy.
Today, my imaginary friend would have chased off the shadows that were lurking in corners and crevices threatening to bring this holiday to a dark close. I would be told not to stress about the work that awaits tomorrow or the chores/projects that didn’t get done. When my head hurt, my friend would tell me to close my eyes and before I knew it I would be taking a guilt-free nap. And when it came for the day to end, I wouldn’t have to recite my good deed list in order to receive a high five, I would receive a high five just because we were friends.
As I write this, I wonder . . . what do imaginary friends get out of such a relationship? I suppose they get the gift of existence, they come to life. And perhaps the bond between creator and creation is gift enough and if over time they are true friends neither will be able to determine who is the creator and who is the creation, because once imagination sparks, it doesn't really matter.
© Kelly Tweeddale 2012