When he was just a tiny tot,
Learning how to walk,
Learning how to sing and play,
Learning how to talk,
I’d hear him talking to a friend,
That only he could see,
He’d share his milk and cookies,
Though he was only three.
He’d leave a Golden Book outside,
Because his friend could read,
I’d watch him sit, attentively,
Beneath the apple tree.
“Who is your friend?” I asked one day,
As I was giving them a bath,
“His name is Tommy” my son said,
His older brother laughed,
But as I put my sons to bed,
And kissed their blonde-white heads,
Steve hugged my neck and whispered
“He hears you too,” he said.
“Why can’t I see your friend?” I asked,
When no one else could hear,
“Oh, mom” he said, “I thought you knew
“Tommy died so long ago–
and he’s no where near.”
But an older brother ridiculed,
Steve’s imaginary friend,
and so Steve saw him less and less
Until their friendship ended.
But I never could forget
The imaginary friend,
and sometimes I would ask myself,
Where does reality begin–
and where does it end?
–Sandra Lee Smith
Sandra’s note: True story. We were living in Simi Valley at the time. Michael was about six and Steven three. Actually, what he told me was that Tommy got killed by a big rock falling on him. When Michael laughed at him, Steve never talked about Tommy again.