Why do kids have imaginary friends? Is it the “only child” who has a need for one, or the child who’s lost a friend? Or are kids just so darn creative they can’t help projecting while they’re at an age when they still believe anything is possible and real if they just believe?
I actually still remember my imaginary friend. He wasn’t a kid like me, or an alien, or a fairy. He was a dog, a beautiful, black and white Border Collie. I didn’t have a dog growing up, mostly because my dad hated them. I vaguely remember threats of shooting any that came into our house. (He was joking…supposedly.) We were cat people, but every kid at a young age wants a dog at some point. (Now that I’m an adult, I’ve been fully conditioned as a cat person and would never own a dog.)
This Border Collie, named Blackie (this was before I developed a love of unique and meaningful names) was a super dog. He’d hang out with me indoors, but once we were outside, he would go running off into the hills. Behind where we lived were brown hills and pasture dotted by a few oddly shaped, bush-like trees. From far away, some of them looked like dinosaurs, and Blackie would run off to chase them. I think he represented a deep-seeded desire for freedom beyond the walls of my existence.
He’d also go with me on trips, but he never rode in the car. Nope, whether it was a short drive to the 7-Eleven or a longer trip to visit relatives, he’d run alongside the road, leaping over cars, jumping on roofs, barking at birds. Looking back, it probably would have been cool if he had talked, but then, with kids and their pets, all you need is a shared look.
Did you have an imaginary friend when you were a kid? Who/what was it? What did you do together?
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