Abigail’s granddaughter Lucy has an imaginary friend who eats at the family dining table, buckles herself in the middle seat belt in the car and likes the light left on when she goes to sleep.
Abigail also has an imaginary friend. He accompanies her when she walks the dog, stands beside her at the kitchen window to admire the sunrise and listens when she talks. He reminds her of someone she once knew…when she was young and her whole future lay before her. Abigail’s husband Simon sits in his armchair watching television or reading his newspaper. He grunts when she hands him a mug of coffee, lunch or dinner, and doesn’t notice… her.
Her walks with the dog and her imaginary friend grow longer each day. The dog doesn’t mind; he loves to walk, sniff the myriad scents along the path and prance past the poodle at number seventeen. Abigail and her imaginary friend communicate silently. They share their thoughts and hopes, compare favourite books and music.
Abigail recognises a familiar fragrance. Honeysuckle…rambling like a hedge along the front fence of an old house, several blocks from home. She inhales deeply and the memories of her youthful yearnings flood back. Unrequited dreams.
Abigail packs a small battered suitcase and stows it in the attic. Each day she returns to the honeysuckle hedge and picks flowers, plucking the petals like daisies… will I? won’t I?
Lucy visits and sits on the front porch patting the dog. “I’d like you to meet my imaginary friend,” she tells him. “She’s sad. Her grandparents are getting a divorce.”
Abigail quietly unpacks the suitcase after Simon goes to bed.
In the morning she stands at the kitchen sink. Alone. She watches the sun slowly rising above the horizon.
“It’s going to be a nice day,” says Simon, taking a step into the room.
The sun’s rays creep along the back fence and gently kiss the dew soaked grass.
“That fence is bare,” says Simon, taking another step toward the window. “Do you think we should plant something there?”
“Honeysuckle,” says Abigail.
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Eric Radcliffe
Eric Radcliffe(@eric-radcliffe)
2 years ago

Hi Sandra, I loved this story – there is so much going on, but it never becomes too busy. There is a reason why we should all try and make an effort to comment. It is really this simple – commenting is a different process than that of reading. We try to ask the questions – what is going on here in the writers mind, for a story can reveal to us much more than what is written. Are there any symbols in the story? Hidden clues? What emotions lay behind the writer? These things can be what drives a writer to put pen to paper. When we read the story for a second or third time, does it become a picture? Abigail’s imaginary friend is male, a past figure of strength, a connection to a time when there was hope. Simon is the complete opposite, is this why she has an imaginary friend? The honeysuckle – a symbol of past unfulfilled dreams. The sun rises – is this her new horizon, and for Simon too? The fence is bare? We all build fences to keep things out or in. It seems Simon has taken his down, and Abigail’s honeysuckle… Read more »

Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
2 years ago

I love this, so much emotion behind it. Aroma can certainly evoke memories, either happy or sad, and this is well demonstrated in your writing. I had two imaginary friends as a child. I have 6 cats to talk to now, but I think that anyone who’s lonely, or is in a situation where an aspect of their life has lost its spark, needs someone to talk to from time to time. The way you finish your story is lovely, leaving you with a feeling that not all is lost in a relationship that has lasted many years. Congratulations

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Fuji
Fuji(@fuji)
2 years ago

A beautifully written story of creatively coping with loneliness. I like the way you work the granddaughter into the story, and how she holds a mirror to her grandparents. It seems there is hope in this marriage after all. Weaving the scent of honeysuckle into her memories speaks to all of us. One whiff of a familiar fragrance has often taken me back to times past. Thanks for a very enjoyable read!

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musing mind
musing mind(@musing-mind)
2 years ago

Very relatable story. Loved reading.

Katy Bizi
Katy Bizi(@katy-bizi)
2 years ago

It’s an amazing story dealing with loneliness. I, particularly, loved how you added the Honeysuckle plant, the theme of the competition, to the plot. It fit perfectly!

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Susan Giles
Susan Giles(@susan-giles)
2 years ago

Did Lucy pick up on her Grandmother’s loneliness and confusion using her imaginary friend as a conduit to approach the unapproachable with her Grandmother? I really enjoyed the story, and appreciate the ambiguity of the ending. Abigail’s ability to hope overrules her feeling of desertion. Or does it? Thanks for a story that makes us think.

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Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
1 year ago

It is a very beautiful and amazing story, Sandra. It well portrays. 

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
Reply to  Sandra James
1 year ago

You’re welcome, Sandra.

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