Saturday, February 20, 2010

Would You Like to Meet my (Imaginary) Friend?

My son, as some of you know, is best described as "precocious." In a single day my five-year-old can fill his shoes with mud, get called into the principal's office, and complete an adult word search, including terms like "admirer," pronouncing them correctly even if doesn't have a clue what they mean.

But that isn't enough. He also has an imaginary friend named Tres.

I met Tres at least two years ago. Brandon walked out the front door, shut it, and rang the doorbell. Now, this had already been his usual activity for as long as he could turn a doorknob, but since he never left the front porch, I let him do it.

But this time, he didn't ring the doorbell incessantly. Just one polite ring. I waited, but he didn't enter again. Finally, curiosity pulled me to the door, and I opened it. Brandon stood there, waiting. "Hi."

"Hi," I answered.

"I've come for a visit."

"Oh, you have, have you?" What on earth did my son mean?

"Yes. I'm Brandon's friend. My name is T-R-E-S."



Seems Tres, who looked just like Brandon, was a 16-year-old with a driver's license. He'd dropped Brandon off at school, and then had come to play. And thus began our long journey with a new, dwarfed fully employed 16-year-old.

It turns out Tres is quite a wonder. He very willingly cleans Brandon's room, does Brandon's chores, and even plays piano in Brandon's stead. But woe betide you if you call him Brandon...

Tres is also magic. He can talk to his mother without calling her on the telephone (he won't give me her number so that I can call her, either), and he manages all sorts of other amazing feats. This summer he even died. We were camping down near Eureka, California, and as we walked through an extremely cool cemetery in Ferndale, Brandon showed me the very grave where the dead Tres had been laid to rest.

"But it says 'Emma Davis.' Says she was married to this guy John."

"No, that's wrong. You just aren't reading it right. He's there."

"How did he die?"

My son shrugged. "I don't remember."

Astonishingly, Tres showed up at our camper not two days later.

"I thought you were dead."

Tres wrinkled his nose. "No."

"Really? You're alive?"

Again the wrinkle. "Yes. I look alive, don't I?"

I had to admit he did.

Just this last Thursday Tres came over for a sleepover. He cleaned Brandon's room, did his homework, and even gave Brandon's dad a hug so that he wouldn't miss Brandon to terribly. He unloaded the dishwasher, asking me where to put pans, plates, and everything else (he didn't remember where they went). Then, the next morning, Tres buttered himself an English muffin and took off for the bus, letting Brandon return just in time to be driven to school.

I wonder how much longer Tres is going to stick around. Personally, when he stops coming, I'll really miss him. He's a good boy.


  1. One of my best friends had an imaginary friend, when I was growing up. He would wonder off and play with him more than he did with me and my other good friend.
    Around 11 years old is when he out grew his imaginary friend.

    Sound like Tres is a good thing at least. I wouldn't worry too much over it... now if he was opposite of Tres then you might have an issue.

    Best of luck

  2. I have my own opinion on what this *might* be. I have no doubt Tres is charming.

  3. Thanks, Barbara!

    It's actually comforting to know, Jeff, that Tres might stick around for a while.

    I'd love to know what you think this is, Stephanie.

  4. Never had this experience with my kids so I have no clue what be happening here.

  5. That is just so sweet! I was highly amused and I wouldn't worry about it now since he is 5 after all. He probably imagines tres is either a bigger brother who looks like him and relates to him or is someone who he might be when he 'grows up'. I'm not sure but I think Tres is a fabulous 'friend' to have around.

  6. I admit to not really analyzing the situation. I think it's imaginative. Brandon is just starting to ask what's "real" and what's "fake." I think I might blog about that next.

  7. I'm glad you decided to answer the door.