The Imaginary Boyfriend

Dear Jake from Connecticut,

I doubt you’ll remember me. I never actually met you at Hampton Beach during the summer of ’85. I just pretended I did. You were probably the boy throwing a football around with your friends while I lay all lotioned up as seductively as I could the year I turned thirteen. I prayed that you would notice me and make an excuse to introduce yourself and fall madly in love with me so we could write to each other all year and reconnect each summer at the beach until you were old enough to marry me, when we would live happily ever after. That’s what I believed at that tender young age would be the very thing that would make me “normal” and afford me the security I’d needed to live out the rest of my adolescence . But it was just my imagination, fueled by a few too many afternoons watching “Days of Our Lives” and “Santa Barbara” and wishing my nights away by moonlight. Thank God I learned about feminism!

I remember sitting at my desk in my room, the very heart shaped stationary I used, to write you love notes, telling you my deepest secrets. And I remember the plain old lined paper I used with my very best left-handed penmanship to craft your sweet, cool, tender but hunky responses. The letters I’d leave sitting on my nightstand or peeking out of my school bag so some curious, jealous friend could snoop and see what a lucky tween I had become. Oh how entirely embarrassing and somewhat normal!

Now I hear stories of my girlfriends’ children writing soft porn in middle school and inventing their very own “Mr. Wonderfuls”. Perhaps it is naturaldevelopmentally ? I’ve reassured them that their daughters aren’t whores, that it is probably a temporary hormone-driven transition from imaginary friends, and that, yes, I did it too. Fantasy and imagination are powerful God- given gifts and will, in time, evolve and transform into beauty and wisdom. At least I think mine have!

So, Jake, wherever you are in an alternate universe, please know that I am grateful to you for letting my hormonal imagination run wild and for never telling anyone what a fake I really was! Besides, I eventually did find the person I wanted you to be and he was definitely worth the wait!

Yours forever (in my adolescent daydreams),

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