Imaginary Friend

So, here I am, at the top of a raised gangway secured to a vintage paddle steamer, a bouquet of pink carnations in my hand and about to make the boldest statement of my life. The backstory as to how I come to be here, I will explain, briefly.

Despite growing up to realise Aditya is viewed by society as an ‘imaginary friend’, he has been in my life since before any other meaningful event I am able to recall. Today, he is no less real. He is the brother I never had and better known to me alone, as Adi.

I know. You are sceptical. You didn’t have an imaginary friend when growing up, nor have you ever known anyone who did. I’m sorry for you, I really am. Believe me when I tell you, you have missed out. Right from the beginning, Adi has been my sage, providing support, advice and guidance. He’s given comfort when needed, warmed me, warned me, saved and occasionally scolded me. But he has never, ever, abandoned me. Unconditionally, he has always been here, right by my side.

If nursery school was a ball of fun, each of the following educational levels upwards served as pathological ordeals. With school, I found children, teachers and support staff pretty much all horrible. It was the same with college, the students, lecturers, administrators, everyone. The sadistic cruelty, vindictiveness and judgementalism served as nothing more than a preparation for entry into the insanity of adulthood. Adi helped get me through, I could not have made it without him. Undoubtedly, had he not been there for me, I would have died from the trauma of the experiences or developed irreversible and severe mental illness. I owe my very life to Adi, I owe everything to Aditya.

With each decision, I am respectfully left to set my own course and make up my own mind. Naturally, I never felt the need to ‘come out’ to Adi, regarding the volcanic nature of my sexuality, because he already knew. He fully understands the fluidity of the forces inside me, how they flow, temporarily solidify, before returning once more into a mass of molecules, moving off in different directions. I have no map, there are no edges. I don’t know where I am most of the time and that’s okay, because I am not alone. I have my companion, imaginary friend.

By now, having ascended a short, vertical ladder and quietly opened a weathertight door, I find myself standing on the bridge. My timing is perfect, he is alone at the helm, lost in philosophical thought I imagine, as his gaze slowly scans across the harbour. All is calm.

“Captain!” I call out, he turns in surprise, “Captain Jürgen Longstaffe, these are for you.” I glance down to the flowers I am holding and back again to my love quest, triangulating the space between us. “I have admired you from afar for quite some time now and today, this evening, I am here, to pledge my everlasting love to you.”

“What? How do you know my name?” For the first time close up, I see the clarity and brightness of his sky-blue eyes. “How did you gain access onto the bridge, wait … I recognise you, you are the regular passenger, aren’t you?” Until now, I’d only ever heard his voice through the tannoy system. “You are the one who purchases tickets thrice weekly, for these same route excursions. You are young man who the staff mention and point out.” His accent sounds softer, his sentences less ‘broken up’. At long last, I feel a rainbow brighten inside me!

© Brinkinfield 2020 All Rights Reserved
Part of the Ekphrasis Project (story inspired by a collage)

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