Thursday, March 10, 2016

Growing Up Diary: My Imaginary Friend

It sounds like a typical concept for most stories or screenplays that were written about children. Even in games, the concept of having an imaginary friend is quite popular. In reality, imaginary friends are considered a psychological and social phenomenon where a relationship takes place in the imagination rather than physical reality.

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Back when I was about five years old, there was an abandoned house next to mine. Everyday, I just loved visiting it not because it was haunted but because it had such a nice garden. For a kid who grew up in the city, being close with nature was something a little too fancy. The house wasn't that creepy as some ghost stories would describe it. It was just a normal house covered in dirt cause it had been so long since someone lived in that house.

I didn't really recall our first encounter. All I know was that he was there and he was my friend. He was a couple years older than me. He never once visited my house although we were supposed to be neighbor. I didn't even aware that somehow, he was just in my imagination. I had a friend; that was all I know.

He was a nice guy, very close to be an older brother of mine. I didn't get along very well with my own sister cause we were 10 years apart. She was always busy with her homework and most of the time, I spent playing with my toys alone. Both my parents worked so they weren't around either. He was the only friend I've got at that time.

Whenever I visited him, he would invited me in. It felt like he had always been waiting for me to come visit him. The place wasn't clean and there wasn't much furniture around. I never know his name though. I refer to him as "brother" and that was it. He knew my name and he often called me by my name. I just loved being called like that.

When the neighbor moved in and rebuilt the house, I stopped seeing him waiting for me every day when I got back from school. The neighbor was close with my family so eventually, I made friends with them. They were both elders and they kept such a beautiful garden as he, my imaginary friend, would always do. Then, one day, he showed up again.

There was an entrance near the neighbor's kitchen. He was the only one that could open the door to go through it into another dimension. That day, he took me by the hand and led me to his place. It was the same abandoned house just like the old times. He told me that there was no place for him in my world and that he belonged to this abandoned house. I asked him about the meaning of this house to him and it was revealed that he had been protecting this place for my previous life.

I had no memories on my past life. That day, he told me the story of a warrior and a princess that took place a long long time ago. We were both existed in the same world. This abandoned house was once a beautiful tower. As his stories went, I could see the house slowly changed its shape and later turned into an ancient tower. He then took my hands and led me to the rooftop. It was a tower lying on the hillside with a majestic view of the forest nearby.

He sighed and told me that not every fairy tale would end in happiness. I wanted to know what happened to both the princess and the warrior but he didn't want to continue his story. His eyes were filled with sadness and all the illusion had turned back into his reality. He told me that it was time to go home. Somehow, I got scared that it would be our last encounter. He smiled and told me that he wouldn't leave me yet.

I was too young to understand the meaning of the word "yet" by the end of his sentence. He did kept his promise though. I didn't have a chance to meet him every day like before but once in a fortnight, he would show up. We didn't play those silly games for children anymore. He taught me fencing, one of the must-have skill of a warrior. I was obsessed with fencing through my childhood. My uncle even made me one wooden sword so that I could practice.

My family decided that it was time to rebuilt our house. We moved to Thu Duc District for roughly a year. I was in junior high at that time. One year away from my own little neighborhood, I started to forget.

I was quite busy with my schedule. Everything seemed too overwhelming for a junior high students. I didn't have much time to play with my imagination anymore. I didn't even bother visiting my neighbor every day after school as I used to before. At the same time, I started writing my first story. I made friends and later, those are the real friends that still stick with me until now. To think back about that, after he, my imaginary friend, disappeared, I started having real friends, in my own world.

The neighbor later decided to expand their house. They built one more room and that room had officially blocked the entrance to his world. I didn't care that much until one day, I saw him in my dream when I was in high school.

People don't tend to remember what happened in their dreams. I was no exception. In dream, I don't have my memories. It was always like I was a complete new person in my dream. I found myself attending a prom. I was nicely dressed in a gorgeous gown. I saw a guy through the crowd and somehow, he was staring at me. When my favorite song came up, he suddenly invited me for a dance. In reality, I didn't know how to dance but somehow, in my dream, I was quite a good dancer.

Somehow, the music, the light and the atmosphere, they suddenly seemed so familiar. As the dance finished, I realized that he was my imaginary friend. I burst out into tears and he hugged me tight. It had been so long since the last time I saw him. He didn't stay the same age though. He grew up as I did.

I got my memories back even though I was still in my dream. He led me back to the neighbor's house. The new room had somehow disappeared, maybe it was because in dream, we could control it. I saw the entrance to his place again and it was the second time I got here. Things didn't change much.

He didn't blame me for forgetting him. He just sat there quietly listening to all my sorrows and sadness. High school was a tough time for me. I was so thankful that he decided to show up at that time. As I finished telling him, I asked him about the story of the princess and the warrior. Still his serious face, he took a deep breath and everything around us started changing its form.

I saw the princess got killed after trying to protect him from whatever invader. He was holding her in his arms, crying his eyes out. The flashback didn't last long. It was too much for him to watch it one more time. He said that it was time for me to go. I woke up with tears in my eyes. It wasn't a dream to me cause it was so surreal. I couldn't do anything though. After all, I realized that he was just a part of my memories and that he was just an imaginary friend in my imagination. Or at least, that was what I tried to convince myself.

Even if it were real, there was nothing that we could do to change what had already happened, in my previous life for god's sake. I tried to avoid him. I got very cautious every time I was about to gain back my memories while dreaming.

Recently, I had just met him again. I was being haunted by lots of horrible memories from school. I found myself going back to junior high, queuing in line to get to class. I walked past a person standing quietly in the corner of the stairs. He seemed familiar to me and when he started calling my name, I know that it was him.

He was just checking on me to make sure that I was doing fine with all my school stuffs. I blamed him for not visiting me for so long although I did realize that I was the one that closed all the doors. He told me that he was just a part of my childhood and as we both grew up, it was time to let go of such things that was attached to us for a very long time. I was so sure that he meant goodbye.

We were never meant to be together. Even in our past lives, we were being separated. Somehow, in this life, I broke the fourth wall and we had a chance to start things all over. I didn't have my past life memories so basically, I wasn't sure if we started the same way we did. I do know one thing is that, we have already passed by each other in this life. He was a precious memories that I wouldn't want to forget his existence. I don't know if in the future, I would have a chance to see him again but I think that I would be doing just fine without him, for now.

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