Oh oh o-woah oh.
Imaginary friend, let’s sneak out tonight. Let’s pretend neither of us are people. You can be Stardapple, I’ll be Moonleaf, we can prowl like black cats down the sidewalks, to the park.
We can climb up the playground poles, we can hang upside down from the slides. In the wood chips we can build a bird nest, a flightless bird nest, no longer cats let’s find the biggest rocks and tuck them between our feet like penguin eggs.
Did you know kiwi birds lay the largest eggs in relation to their body size?
Did you know ostriches will swallow actual rocks, to act like grindstones in their stomachs, since they don’t have teeth?
Imaginary friend, let’s sit on the backyard fence and watch the fireworks, I don’t know what holiday tomorrow is but the firework-shooting people apparently do. Let’s perch on the fence like monkeys, feet swinging, hands coated in concrete dust. Let’s play a game where we count the colors of the biggest explosions, if there’s more green then I win, if there’s more red then you do.
Imaginary friend, let’s wear all black tonight, let’s run down the scary road with no street lamps, some secret murderer must lurk in the dark, maybe a ninja, let’s run so silent and terrified like mice from death-spiraling owls, let’s feel alive on the adrenaline of the hunted.
Imaginary friend, let’s play tag in the basement, turn all the lights off, the rules are half hide-and-seek, half crawl on your knees. We both get special powers according to things babies do–drink milk, ride strollers, spit up, get taken to their cribs.
Did you know teens get painful bumps just below their knees and cannot crawl? Did you know twelve-year-olds are less afraid of the dark than six-year-olds, twenty-six-year-olds?
Did you know some bedrooms go off-limits for hiding, some corners grow too dusty to ever touch, when they’ve been claimed (or unclaimed) for too many years?
Imaginary friend, let’s not talk about getting old or encroaching dust anymore. Let’s leave those for the humans, the students, the over-analysts.
Let’s play as marsupials, clambering through the trees with our pouches full of babies. Let’s be Tasmanian devils, hissing and baring our teeth at the poorly mistaken dogcatchers. Let’s be koalas, sleeping away three fourths of the day, too busy to play tic-tac-toe or kickbox with the visiting troop of kangaroos.
Imaginary friend, let’s forget all of that, let’s rain dance until dawn. Thunderstorms strike deadliest in the afternoons, after the sun’s been up for hours boiling all the clouds. But sometimes, late at night in the basement, echolocating by shuffling footsteps, the creaking of the house blinds me, announces that the wind-wolves have joined this late sky-party.
The winds, they scare me even at their least deadly, how they dance with all the trees, the firepit cover, the trash cans, and leave their lovers for dead, lost and miles away.
Did you know some storms only terrify the middle-aged who have something they think they will lose? As for me, I am not middle-aged, nor have I built much I think I can lose–so I convince myself I am not terrified of the whole storm, just the wind.
Did you know some storms only terrify people who have somewhere to drive, who fear hailstones breaking their new windows, who fear lightning bringing down their neighbors’ homes? As for me, I have none of these things to fear, so I should not be terrified.
Imaginary friend, let’s rain dance until dawn. Let’s go scream into the winds, let’s let them make us mightier, join our forces with theirs to tear down the neighborhood. Let’s dance in fat, cold beads, stomp in the puddles, making trampolinists of water drops. Let’s rattle our teeth to the thunder. Let’s let the lightning bolts entertain us, so long as our interest lasts.
Did you know you can measure how far away a storm is, by the seconds you count between lightning flash and thunder boom? Something about something, one second equals this far away, I don’t remember, I live for flash and immediate crash, so close it shakes the earth beneath my toes. Zero seconds equals super close, right here, did you know you can dance a do-si-do in the epicenter of a storm? Not that I ever have, of course.
Imaginary friend, be careful of the lightning, actually getting struck is no fun. That’s why rubber car tires mean safety, that’s why you go inside, that’s why they delay the sports games for lightning warnings.
But imaginary friend, let’s rain dance until dawn anyway, defiant. Forget about the lightning, is it any worse than what’s already happened?
Imaginary friend, we could be water sprites like that, we could be insects in a bathtub in the dark, we could be tulips with crystals suspended on creamy petals. Let’s reach outside our skins and become part of the puddles ourselves, one with the falling raindrops, tethering us to the heavens.
We could soar up there someday, imaginary friend. Wild between sky and sea, earth and moon; screaming with the thunder, precarious as the wind’s muse.
Woah-oh o-woah oh, imaginary friend, let’s sneak out tonight, forget either of us were ever people with needs we couldn’t satisfy, with skins so fragile and confining as eggshells.
(let’s sneak out tonight, okay?)
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