Long ago there was a man named George. When the house was quiet, my world a hush, he would come to me; when I was stalking wild mystical greeblybeasts in the overgrown field with me he would hunt, invisible pebbles clutched in his fists also. When I was sad, he sat by my bed and comforted me, for was I not the world's bestest tomboy after all? He held my hand as I got yet another lecture for being too silly, or when the pickles had somehow transported themselves from the fridge to under my bed.
And handy thing, he was a chameleon! Why he could be my wise Indian guide or my laughing Irish partner-in-crime, and sometimes he was just there, no special anything at all. His physical characteristics were always the same: tall and slim, not muscle-bound but wiry with the grace of a panther, with shining black hair and brown eyes. Soft spoken and musical, he could pain stories in the air by words or colour.
Often he'd tap my shoulder and suddenly, there we were in a magical kingdom somewhere over the ocean; or high up in the north we'd dogsled over a crisp white sea of snow, my trusty beagle running along beside. My favourite place though, was the land beyond the stars on another planet where the greeblybeasts ran free and sometimes escaped with me, to be hunted with pebbles blessed by a particular spell, said with eyes twisted tightly shut and hands raised to the sky. He said the words for me, because spells were meant only for secretly trained casters, not children such as I.
When I lived in Vanier, he liked to speak to me in French or, on occasion, in his own language which only I could understand. That was okay, cause I had my own alphabet so the prying eyes of a snooping sister couldn't read my diary. I still have that diary and at 28, I wish to God I could read it. When George left my life, he took my alphabet with him.
I can't say how much his undying devotion to me meant when I was small and little problems were crises of immense proportions in my little girl world. I never felt alone when he was around for I knew there were arms to hold me, in my mind at least, and that was good enough for me.
He was my greatest teacher who taught me how to make worlds and people out of nothing, and to put the vision of beautiful places on paper with paint. Like all good teachers as I got better, less and less I called upon him. But I never lost the lessons I learned and my life to this day is full, with my imaginary worlds and people living on pages in type and beautiful colours blending on canvases that grace my walls.
I don't know the day he left my life for good; I never said goodbye. Sometime around when I was nine, he simply wasn't there anymore. I had walked away and into the world of girlfriends and books and movies. I simply didn't need him anymore. I could write a story word by word or paint a picture one brushstroke at a time, all on my own, so I did.
And when times are hard now, I can become a fugitive on the run or an elderly woman looking back on yesterday . . .anything I want to be. All of it in pen and ink and you know, when all is said and done, those problems just don't seem so big afterwards.
Where is George now? Why, not very far at all. He's still there, somewhere close beside me, sleeping peacefully and waiting for when he's needed next, like all good imaginary friends will do. He was with me when I needed him and when I had grown too big for such things, he stepped away until he's needed once again. But it won't be for me. Not this time.
No, he waits for that day when the tomboy of yesterday has a little one of her own who, when the world's a hush and alone in the bedroom, a little hand is imperceptibly held and wonderful stories of Kings and Queens and magical things fill the air . . .
03/08/90 © C.M. Harris Davies
post script 2000: I think he's found my daughter....and has moved on. She'll be a fantastic writer someday. There. You've been forwarned!