Growing up, I noticed so many of my friends had imaginary friends. Complete with names, histories, and tall tales of adventures shared they would have long conversations on the playground and take turns going down the slide. They were each other’s confidantes, divulging their deepest, darkest, secrets.
I often wondered why children, who are so often surrounded by other children at school and at home, needed imaginary friends.
I mean, I had a real best friend. Her name was Maadar-Jan (Mother Dear). We’d known each other since I was only 9 years old. I didn’t need any other friends.
She taught me so many things; to love, to care, to feel sympathy. She taught me patience and perseverance. She taught me about God and His Wisdom. She told me stories of peaceful eternities soon to come in the Afterlife. She taught me about hope.
She was so generous and taught me how sharing never decreased what you had.
But my friend also taught me about pain. She exposed me to fear and stress. She illustrated how no amount of tears would change my path and how love and care would never affect some hearts. She showed me desperation. She taught me what it was like to be hopeless.
I learned how to survive and scrape by from my best friend.
We shared our dreams and our fears. We whispered our sinister desires to each other over ice-cream in the twilight of sunset. We plotted our escape. We hid together. We ran together. We cried together.
When I was older she even showed me what betrayal felt like and what losing a friend did to your heart. But my friend was smart. She had already taught me forgiveness. And so I forgave her and we moved on.
As I child I didn’t need imaginary friends.
I did have an imaginary mother. Her name was Maadar-Jan.
…and she protected me.