Her name was Alexis. She was everything I wasn’t at the time: a teen, a sophisticate, a brunette with a Parisian fashion sense, a person who can get through an episode of Friends without falling asleep, and, most importantly, a horse aficionado.
And then she was none of those things, because I killed her. Well, a horse killed her, after she tripped over a rock, placing her face directly in line with her equine doom. To be graphic, it was death by hoof to the face. Like all great artists, the thing by which she was consumed ultimately snuffed the life out of her. But then again, as romantic as that sounds, it isn’t entirely true either. The horse only killed her because I wanted it to. Like an omnipotent and merciless god, I killed her.
I killed her because I created her. She was my friend. My imaginary friend that is.
I had conjured her into reality during a period of my childhood with limited opportunities for friendship and a strained connectedness with my elders. One of my aunts had and still has a true affinity for horses and horse culture. As that canonical meme of the guy wearing an unamused expression and too small sunglasses expresses, I can’t relate. So rather than feign an interest in the equestrian world, I tapped into my (*waves a rainbow over my head with both hands*) ~imagination~ and willed Alexis into existence.
Alexis started to come to family gatherings, my family members delighting in asking questions about my new companion. They would pat me on the head and praise my rampant creativity, all the while unaware of my grander intentions for Alexis’ being.
As Alexis became a regular fixture of all of our lives, I realized that I could use her newfound presence to scam my family members for extra presents. The aunt who had inspired Alexis’ birth with her horse infatuation gave me and Alexis Christmas gifts that year, a set of customized stationery for each of us.
Now I don’t know what was at the top of your list of needs and wants as a child, but as an inherently frivolous person, having pencils with my name on them was priority number one. I had yearned over that stationery for weeks, which is an eternity in kid time, and was electrified to finally own them.
But the initial high of getting not only one but TWO sets of stationery quickly faded into feelings of gluttony, manipulation, and coerciveness. I had worked the system with my cute and quirky personality once again. What had begun as me trying to connect and entertain myself as a six-year-old surrounded by my elders had diverged into me using holographic pencils embossed with a name that wasn’t even mine everyday at school. Alexis Pencil in chubby hand, I plotted out how to bring this ruse to an abrupt end.
I proclaimed Alexis dead on a breezy autumnal afternoon and held a procession of grief up and down my cul-de-sac: my Barbie Jeep the hearse, my Kohl’s graphic tee depicting a monkey lighting its own fart on fire with a flame thrower my mourning wear.
I haven’t needed an imaginary friend to help my hustle in a while, but as I sit as a college sophomore at one of the most expensive universities in the country, I can’t help but feel a tingle of imagination and the sense that Alexis might really like it here. I would love to show her around, quickly popping into the Blue Room, the Financial Aid Office, the Rock, the Financial Aid Office, Kabob and Curry, the Brown Bookstore, and maybe even that show stopping campus landmark, the Financial Aid Office.