Saturday 1st October
I cannot remember ever having an imaginary friend as a child. I cannot remember having any friends until I went to school in Putney, and the reason is simple; I neither met nor played with other children at all.
I was three when we left my parents first house in Chelsea (imagine what that might be worth today, with its’ artist-studio loft conversion) and were ensconced in Cyprus. I am certain that Grandma would have made sure I was not contaminated (as she would have seen it) by contact with any Cypriot children, and I cannot remember ever mixing with anyone my own age, but then I was always older than my years; Grandma had seen to that. So why did I not invent an imaginary friend; I cannot even remember playing with dolls though I am sure I must have had some. I think it must be because I had a companion already, one to whom I confided all my thoughts, and that was Grandma herself.
And later when I did have friends I never really confided in them either, it was one thing to chatter in class and gossip about this or that girl, with her greasy hair or her spots, but I would never let them know what I was really thinking. Especially about my father, and his lack of contact with me; in fact I was quite nonchalant about him, making up the letters he wrote me, and constantly postponing my imminent holiday with him in Cyprus. I did this to hide my embarrassment at the fact that I didn’t have a father at all, when all the other girls just took their fathers for granted; they also took their mothers for granted of course, but somehow Grandma managed to substitute for me the obvious lack of a real caring mother. But all through this time I never had an imaginary friend, someone I could talk to, confide in, unless you count my writing, you know the diaries and the stories I would make up, maybe this was my imaginary friend, the one I was writing to.
And now, I am on my own again, though anyone who has been married for a few years will surely know that inevitably you are often on your own in the midst of company, the conversation either dried up or meaningless. And now I am writing, first my book, and yes, I am occasionally writing other stuff, though whether it will ever be good enough I really cannot say, and this blog itself.
And maybe dear reader you are my imaginary friend, the one I can talk to without embarrassment or contradiction about whatever is on my mind. So please carry on reading and be my imaginary friend, for I can honestly say, that acquaintances are many but friends, real friends, I have no other.