good friends are hard to keep

[Editor's note: Sex wrote this a couple of days ago, but she got so wrapped up in the unfolding blog-saga, heh, it's a "Blaga" - she's going to steal that, just you watch! - that she put off posting it.]

It's 4:15 and I should be fixing dinner and folding laundry. I should be changing for my work out later. I should be writing - though I had a good session today. Scatterbrain is gone for the time being. I could be organizing some things for my trip next week, and I could especially be organizing some of PHF's things, since he won't be back until next Wednesday.

(Side note: PHF was due to fly in at 5:30 pm next Wednesday. The secretary, trying to save money, switched his flight to arrive at 10 pm. Wednesday-- about twelve hours before we are to get on the plane to go to New Orleans. Before I could even open my mouth in protest, PHF said in a hurry, "But I went to my boss and said 'my wife will kill me dead if I get in that late.'" The boss said to fix it back.

Gives me a warm feeling, that. There's something about having your man "invoke" your name. I mean, it's not as if we girls have got knights jousting over our honor anymore.)

But anyway, I could be paying some bills or working on letters to agents.

But I'm not doing any of it. Instead, I'm thinking about loss, and how at the time we can't possibly see the potential good in such desolation.

As a child PHF had a best friend. I'll call him Matt. The boys were thick as thieves, as bestest friends as best friends could be. They spent every weekend together, at one house or the other, and mostly hung out together, alone, without other friends. They did have some other friends, Matt especially. Because while PHF was somewhat an anomoly at his exclusive prep school in that he wasn't showered with a perpetual stream of money, Matt was no such sort. His family was wealthy - among the wealthiest families in town. They liked to play at Matt's house because, as the child of wealthy man, he had all the cool stuff. His father had a private plane. Matt had the Millenium Falcon, even. You get the idea.

But Matt had one underlying, intermittent problem, and that was asthma. He did sports, played them well - he was the sort of boy who did everything well - but the asthma troubled him sometimes. One day, when he was fourteen, he couldn't catch his breath at track practice, sat down, had an major asthma attack, and died there on the spot.

And PHF was alone.

I don't think he was so close to any one again, until he met me, and especially until he met our son; with whom he shares an abiding affinity for each other and loud trucks that crawl over stuff. There's always been a sort of relief of need in that relationship between them. They just fit. It's a remarkable thing to not only love someone in your family, but like them as well.

One day when our son was sitting at dinner with us he mentioned casually that his best friend was doing something or other up in his room and couldn't come down to dinner. The Lad has lots of friends, but at that time he didn't have one special friend.

"Who's that?" PHF asked. The Lad had some pretty close little friends, but at three and a half, he didn't have much freedom to see them on his own. No freedom. Maybe he was talking about someone at school.

"Oh, my friend. He's in my room. He's the coolest guy. He has the best toys. And he shows me how to do stuff."

"Your friend up in your room," I repeated faintly.

PHF and I smiled at each other with sudden understanding. Our little boy had an imaginary friend.

Now, I have no earthly idea where he inherited this trait from (that was sarcasm if you missed it), but our little lad is the type of person who can't not know how to do something. It becomes like a little game of "best at" when we try to teach him something or tell him something new. For awhile, I was annoyed with this seemingly pervasive male trait. So many men are like this and I was thinking Oh my god, they are like this from birth! But finally I realized he was just trying to protect his little psyche all along. It's scary to not know (or so I've heard. No personal experience with this, you understand.)

Well, as time went on, more details about the Lad's friend emerged. He was an older boy, about the age of one of the lad's cousins, about thirteen or so. He could do everything well; and he showed the Lad how to do all sorts of things. He played when no one else could. He was a good little imaginary friend. We didn't laugh at him, nor ever bring him up; we let the Lad do that. And we didn't do something stupid like set a place for him at dinner or any of it. But the friend was there, hanging out at bedtime and at alone-times - mostly in his room - telling the Lad all about Soccer and about School when he started. He was never in the car or anything - he was always around when the Lad was alone. Which was fine - it's how good imaginary friends should be. Parents who condescend to these sorts of things should be shot, if you ask me. But that's beside the point.

Mentions of him spiked and ebbed, and the most recent wasn't too long ago - about a week ago, in fact. The Lad had a sort of secret smile on his face; sort of an embarrassed smile, and he talked about his friend in the past tense. "Remember, my old friend? From my room."

I had to ask. "Does he hang out with you any more?"

"No." But the Lad had sort of wistful look on his face.

And I knew I did to. My little boy is growing up.

He just doesn't need his "imaginary" friend Matt any more.

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