Thursday, July 19, 2012

Imagine That....

Sally was her name. She wore a big red bow in her long blond hair, curled in ringlets...

...Sally was my imaginary friend. She entered my world when I was four and she stayed by my side until I was seven.

Although Sally could not be seen by anyone but me, she was very real to me. I set a place for Sally at our kitchen table, she ate every meal with us. She shared a bedroom with me and we often had tea with our Barbies, stuffed animals and Mademoiselle dolls...

Sally and I would stay up late, laying in my queen sized brass bed, snuggled under the hand embroidered quilt my grandmother made, whispering our secrets and our dreams...

...sometimes we would just lay in the light of the moon, eyes squeezed shut in attempt to drown out the arguments my parents were having in the room just below us...

Looking back, I realize that Sally was my "safe"...my sunshine in the midst of a storm that was brewing and would soon unfold...

My parents divorced when I was seven. I can't say that it was a surprise, their marriage was stressed...I remember. The yelling....the slamming of doors....the hurtful words....

...a confusing and scary time for a child.

Affliction of anger, blame....hardship and ugliness...it all began to pull at our family and my parents began to drift apart...

....if I remember correctly, Sally appeared in the beginning of the fight. Perhaps I couldn't bare the late night yelling on my own, laying in my bed wondering if I had done something wrong....

And so I created a friend...a confidant. Someone who would comfort me ....someone I could trust.

My mother tells me that Sally was not just a simple friend I had created in my thoughts...she had a history, a family, a wardrobe (of course!), favorites and other friends that I sometimes had the privilege of meeting...

I remember Sally. ...in fact, it amazes me just how vividly I remember her.

...And I remember the day Sally left.

Just after my father left.

I don't remember why Sally left...I do remember walking up to my mother, who stood in the doorway, watching my father loading his car with his belongings. Tears tickled her cheeks and her hands were folded for a prayer....

...and I simply stated that Sally had left. That was it. No explanation, no excuses...she just left. It was time for her to go....

The irony of that amazes me.

Because as I stood by my mother, whose world was crumbling around her....

....she, of all people who needed someone to love on her, looked at me and said, "I'm here."

And it was okay that Sally was gone.


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