Imaginary Friends pt 4

Jennifer shrugged her coat off in the hallway and frowned at our son’s retreating back. I ruffled his curls as he passed me and skipped to his room, but I had my eyes on Jennifer.

“What’s up?” I asked.

“He did it again…” she whispered.

“Did what?” I whispered back, trying to make her smile.

She gave me one of her withering stares. “The talking to no one thing. And when I try to join the conversation he says, ‘mom, I’m not talking to you,’ but he won’t tell me who he’s talking to either.”

I rubbed her arms. “I’m sure it’s just a kid thing. Maybe he has an imaginary friend.”


She didn’t sound convinced and I decided to drop the subject instead of press it. “Dinner will be ready in a few minutes if you want to go change.”

“Yeah. Okay.” She kissed my cheek and walked down the hall to our bedroom.

The next morning when I was at work, Jennifer called me three times in a row. I managed to get away from my boss for a moment in time to answer on the fourth time.

“Babe…. You know I can’t really talk at work-”

“Mark! He did it again. And — and…” Her voice cracked and I knew she was crying. Had been crying for some time. “And he was talking about car crashes and dismembered limbs and… Mark, how does he even know what that is?”

I didn’t know what to say. My mouth hung open and I stared out the window of the break room listening to my wife sob on the other end of the phone.

“I don’t… I don’t know. Maybe the news? Did he watch something recently with a car accident? I don’t know. I’m so sorry. Are you okay?”

Jennifer sniffled. “Yeah. I think so. I’m parked at the Dairy Queen because I dropped him off at daycare and didn’t think I could drive all the way home right now.”

I glanced around for my boss, and even though I knew it wasn’t really an option, I asked, “Do you need me to come get you or anything?”

She sniffed again. “No. No that’s okay. I’m okay. I just… I don’t know what to do about it? Does he need therapy?”

I rubbed my forehead. “Maybe? I mean, we can look into it… How about I meet you at Jimmy’s tonight for pasta bowls and breadsticks? Carb loading should help. It’ll put him right to sleep on the way home. Maybe he’s over tired.”

Jennifer giggled through her tears. “You always think food is the answer.”

“Isn’t it though?”

She laughed again. “Okay, yeah. I’ll meet you there tonight.”