My imaginary friend and me

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Tina Dubinsky

Not many people will admit to having an imaginary friend as a child, especially in public. But here goes.

I had an imaginary friend, and she was the start of an incredible journey through my imagination.

As an infant, I was lonely. I was the youngest of four siblings, from a broken family, living in rural Australia.

My two older sisters and brother were just that, older. There was a seven-year difference between my youngest sister and me. And only a year difference between my two sisters and older brother.

So, as an infant, I felt like the odd one out. I don’t think they always enjoyed playing the same games as me, and then there was the separation between my parents when my two older sisters went to live with Mum.

So, I created a friend to enjoy my games with me.

Garden nymph
I spent many hours outside playing in our large yard. 

She was beautiful, my very own angel with wings.

The extraordinary thing about my imaginary friend was that she could fly. And because she could fly, I called her Flying Girl.

Yes, I have always been quite imaginative with names.

We spent many hours outside playing in our large yard, amongst the flowers, up trees, beneath the stumped house and across the road at Bakers Creek. My childhood home was a peaceful rural location and the place of many adventures.

My father was not too keen on Flying Girl. I recall him being very concerned about my imaginary friend. Though he was not aware, I knew that he was concerned.

One Christmas morning, I was disappointed to discover the new (paper) wings I created for Flying Girl, still hanging on the Christmas tree. I expected Santa Claus to take them to her!

After many hours of unwrapping presents, my family began to prepare for Christmas lunch. Sitting at the table, I spied my father sneaking out of the back door of the house.

Some time passed. I’m not sure how much. But my attention was brought back to the tree.

Flying Girl’s wings were gone.

I pretended to be happy. But inside, a large hollow space opened up. My imaginary friend wasn’t real. I knew that now. Though my Dad tried to make amends, by retrieving the wings during our meal, I knew the truth.

My world shattered.

Imaginary friends are natural.

Nearly forty years later, children psychologists have gained many new insights on children and their imaginary friends. Imaginary friends are a natural and healthy part of a child’s development. They also help children to practice talking, gain confidence and role-play different scenarios.

Even though it felt like my imaginary friend had a short shelf life, I have not forgotten the hours of enjoyment we had together. We went to many imaginary lands and created many fanciful stories. Just me, Flying Girl and my imagination.

Over the years, my imaginary friend followed me into the school ground. I often characterized her in make-believe games with other children.

As I grew into an adult, she has accompanied me into chat roleplay rooms in Yahoo to become a favorite character in a role-playing game.

Melrose of the rings, a roleplay character was based on my childhood imaginary friend.
Meet Melrose Darkgaze, a fantasy character based on my childhood imaginary friend.

And now, as an author, she plunges into the plot of my first epic fantasy to become one of my many intriguing characters.

Imaginary friends are cool.

They are not limited to our younger years but can journey with us through life. Then provide us with countless hours of creative fun and assist with childhood development.

As an author, I hope to share that fun with you.  I know have a menagerie of fantasy characters. Melrose Darkgaze, a sprite with the wings of a swan, is based on my childhood friend, Flying Girl.

Though it may take some time to craft their world and stories, I hope one day you draw them from the pages of my book and into your imagination.

Comments, thoughts?