Being an only child is a lonely time.
Sure I missed out on all those sibling rivalries and jealousies and fights and what I imagine to be high drama of painting lines down the wall and the floor to separate Your side and My side, but I think I got that last image from reading Babysitter Club books or something. I never had hand-me-downs, or middle child syndrome, or somebody farting on me as a retaliatory act. Instead, I received the laser-beam attention of a crazed korean mother on the loose and lots of instrument and math lessons. I never had a partner in crime, a sibling shoulder to lean on, and rebelled with silent acts like carving the words "I HATE CELLO" on yes, the bottom of my cello. Real wild. (Well,now cello is one of my favorite sounds. Thanks Ma!)
So I would think that I would be one of those kids who had an imaginary friend or two or three. We'd shoot the shit and then go on adventures and climb trees or something wholesome and naturey like that. But I never really did have any specific imaginary friends. Certainly, I spent a large portion of my childhood in my imagination and I assigned life to many a stuffed animals. Instead, I think I created imaginary worlds, whole scenarios, instead of one special person or animal who was constantly hanging around.
But coming out of that lonely only child time, I can totally see the appeal of having one. And I wouldn't mind having an imaginary friend now and again, while I'm rattling around everyday, a little echo-ey.
I think everybody can identify with having imaginary friends. Esopus Magazine is a bi-yearly artsy magazine that also comes with a CD and for their 4th issue, they asked subscribers to submit descriptions of their childhood imaginary friends. Thirteen of these were used by musicians including Kimya Dawson and Avey Tare (from Animal Collective) to make songs. And when I first heard "Lisa" by a lovely Chapel Hill (yay) band called Prayers and Tears of Arthur Digby Sellers a couple times on KEXP, it tugged the heartstrings, gave them a thrum.
I found the song again via Central Village. For a few days, here it is: Lisa with lyrics after the break. Lisa is an imaginary friend, who like so many, have been abandoned, and she rattles around the walls and halls. And if I ever meet her, I will ask her, "Hello Lisa. How are you feeling?"
There’s nothing I could call this
No architecture for the order of things
When I sat and watched you sleeping
Before the trucks arrive, boxed up your better life
I wrote you letters for awhile
Left to haunt this sad estate
In hollow walls and empty halls but all I saw was
Some doll that you’d abandoned
So I crawled inside where the stitching held me tight
And hoped that you’d come back to find me some time.
I hope that you’ll forgive me for being so severe
Your proximity was clouding my account of what was real here
You’re eight years old I’m stuck inside the wall
you always talk but never hold me and I wish that you would ask me how I’m feeling
there’s so much I want to tell you about the way I’m disappearing
and so many years have passed since that
I left the house I left the map to my new wall
You must have never found it
And I heard that you got married
And I hope that she helps you fall asleep these days
Cuz I knew the ways
When you were eight
You’re not what I imagined you’d become when we were younger
But I’m still in love with that one
But I’ve since found your parents’ house
And lived inside the wall
But you don’t ask about me when you call