Hubs and I recently watched “Happy” on Netflix. It was really good, provided you can handle some seriously cringe-worthy moments. There’s a lot of kid-in-danger going on, which I absolutely hate, but the end is happy enough and I liked it overall. Without giving anything really key away, I will tell you that there is a character named Happy, who is a flying blue horse (unicorn, really, though he never really cops to it.) He is the imaginary friend of a girl who gets kidnapped, and he has to save her. There are a lot of moments in the series where he is talking to other imaginary friends, cast-offs after their children have grown too old for them. It made me wonder…what happened to mine?
I had, as a child, an imaginary community. There were the outliers, imaginary folk who didn’t live with me. This consisted of D, a boy that I only knew because he had a green shirt with a purple D on it. He never spoke, just appeared for a game of “kick-the-ball” or to sit and watch tv. There was Mary, a young mother of eight who was a terrible cook, though I never met the children that she was constantly talking about. And there was Esther Drake, a retired schoolteacher who lived in an apartment building on the corner of Kenmore and Colvin. I knew these oddly specific things about them, and it was presented to me once when I was a little older that perhaps they were spirits. I’d had some psychic events as a child, and even my mother thought this was a possibility. Why would I imagine a retired schoolteacher? Why would I know her address? Why didn’t D talk? Where are Mary’s children? Questions I will never have answers for.
My best imaginary friends, however, lived in my house. Their names were Shushie and Potchie. Shushie wore a green dress and had a short black bob. Potchie had overalls with a red shirt and a cowboy hat. I don’t know when they appeared, but they stayed for a long time.
My mother tells me of one Shushie story. Her friend Marie needed a ride to the airport, back in the day when you could actually watch your friends plane take off. Apparently, I told mom that Shushie was going to go with Marie on vacation. I said my goodbyes and everything. Then, when we went back to the car and mom shut the door, I started screaming bloody murder because she had slammed Shushie’s arm in the door. Mom asked if she hadn’t gone on vacation. She did not. My mother was trying to maim her. Mom tells me that I was truly crying and screaming in that moment, as though the events were real. I don’t know.
I don’t know how old I was when they disappeared, but I know it was before we moved to Kenmore when I was eight, or maybe around the same time. Maybe they were just ghosts. Maybe they were mere figments of my overactive imagination. I always did find it interesting, though, that my imaginary friends were unlike others. Other kids I knew had imaginary bunnies and snails and frogs: mine were people. Detailed, seemingly real people.
I wonder if they existed on some plane of reality that I no longer have access to. I totally believe that children have the ability to interact with things in a way adults cannot. As for my previously mentioned psychic event: our car was stolen. I told my mom “it’s in front of the purple house.” She drove to the only purple house in the neighborhood. It was parked out front. Don’t tell me that was a coincidence! Those were forces, man!
There have been other times I have had a connection to an outside reality, and times I have been able to read signs to predict a situation, and I’ve always been sort of a hippy-witchy kind, so you can take or leave what I think on the subject. Sometimes though, I think about my lost imaginary friends, and I hope that they are still out there playing. I hope they have found some other little girl or boy to love them, whether they’re real or not. I don’t know where these manifestations go, but I hope it’s nice. I hope they get all they wish for, just like I would hope for any of my old, dear friends.