“Hold this,” she says.
My three-year-old granddaughter places an invisible something into my open palm.
“What is it?” I ask.
“It’s a donut. For D.”
D is her imaginary friend. D has been a boy, a girl and a dog. All I really know is that D follows her around, appearing and disappearing at her whim. At some point, D will disappear altogether. For now, I go along with the ruse. She will eventually figure out what is real and what is not.
My granddaughter will experience a tidal wave of fake things in her lifetime. One day it will occur to her that she is not a princess, or that the butterfly wings on her Halloween costume won’t actually make her fly. Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny will evaporate. She will notice that Auntie’s red fingernails are longer and larger than they were yesterday. She will notice that the grocery checker’s hair sits on top of his head at an odd angle and doesn’t match his sideburns. She will look out the window in her car seat and see a rock made of plastic covering a plumbing valve and pass a cell phone tower that almost looks like a tree.
She will grow older to see images of politicians photoshopped next to Bigfoot. She will watch YouTube videos of mermaids and aliens. She will meet boys who will say anything to get her attention, or a kiss, or more.
She will find that the world is filled with people of many faiths, each believing in something that no one can actually prove. She will wade through the discourse and chatter of opinions in her college dorm and listen with a trained ear. She will understand that more than any truth, what is most important is having the ability to understand and determine what is false. This skill will allow her to survive in a world where falsehoods can end a species. She will look back on that bittersweet moment when D, her imaginary friend, disappeared forever, and she began to see the world as it truly is.
With a Perspective, I’m Les Bloch.
Les Bloch is a construction project manager.