When I was very young (probably between the ages of three and four) I had an imaginary friend. My parents were seperated by then and I was an only child so a therapist may have a field day as to whether this had anything to do with my imaginary friend or not.
Wikipedia describes imaginary friends as made often in childhood. They often function as guardians, which is probably what I needed at that time of my life.
My “friend” was an elderly woman. I do not recall if she had a name. She never spoke that I can remember and usually sat in a chair in the corner of the room and watched me play with my toys. I remember vividly what she looked like. She had short silver-blue hair that was curly on the top and came down right below her ears. She was tall and thin with that grayish wrinkly skin and veins that seemed to bulge from her hands that were always demurely folded on her lap. She always wore a navy blue wool skirt that went to her knees, those old saggy style nylons, orthopedic shoes and a dark gray sweater over a white blouse. She had glasses that hung from a chain around her neck.
One day I was playing in the kitchen and my “friend” was sitting in one of the kitchen chairs. I had pulled it out for her to sit and watch me. My mother had a friend coming over and when she arrived, she sat in the exact chair my imaginary friend was sitting in. I remember breaking down into tears. My imaginary friend disappeared that day. I never saw her again, though I remember trying very hard to get her to come back. It was as if my brain was getting older and I somehow knew that if she were real, my mother’s friend would not have sat on her. I couldn’t understand, at that tender age, why I could see her so clearly and others could not.
I remember my mother’s friend asking why I was suddenly so upset. Her response was, “Oh, you just sat on her imaginary friend” as if this was some trivial thing to be brushed aside and not the devastating moment in my childhood when I lost a friend.
Some say she may have been a ghost attached to the house that only an innocent child such as myself could see. My grandfather built the house I grew up in and he died before I was born. My grandmother was still alive and lived in the city. I do not know of any other woman who would have been attached to the house. And I’m not much of a believer in ghosts.
Eventually, as I got older and started school, I made “real” friends. But I will always remember the little old lady who would sit quietly in a chair and watch me play.