It’s snowing again today. Why yes, it is almost May. That’s Colorado for you. (No one got a snow day, in case you were wondering.)
It’s cold and wet, and the beautiful mountain range that we normally get to see is covered in clouds. This includes Pike’s Peak, which, if you’ve never been to Colorado Springs, is the biggest one. And when I was a kid, it was also the friendliest.
You see, when I was a kid, I was a little strange. This rubbed off on my three younger siblings occasionally. And by “rubbed off on,” of course I mean that I forced them to join me in my madness.
I’m talking about imaginary friends. Yes, I know, lots of children have them. The issue here was that I was friends with a mountain. That’s right—my imaginary friend was Pike’s Peak. Of course, in my head, she was a girl (obviously), and her name was Mountain Majesty. That’s a mouthful, though, so I just called her M&M for short. My second-grade self thought that was incredibly clever.
I would sit on the playground at school while the other kids played foursquare or tetherball or dug things up with sticks, and I would stare lovingly at my friend. She was a good friend. She let me do most of the talking. I would tell her about what I had for lunch, and apparently she thought that was pretty interesting, because there she was, day after day, waiting for me to come and see her.
This friends-with-a-mountain phase went on for quite a while. We got to be very close.
Then one day, she did something odd. I remember it clearly. She introduced me to the other mountains that sat around her. A whole mountain range of friends for me! I thought. But she said I couldn’t be friends with them all. She would feel sad and neglected, and we couldn’t have that. Looking back, she was a little controlling. That’s never a good trait in a mountain. She said that her other mountain friends were lonely and jealous of her. They wanted human friends, too.
And I said that that was easy to fix. I knew three humans that were in desperate need of mountain friends. Not to worry, M&M.
My siblings didn’t know what hit them. Keep in mind—I’m the oldest, and at that point, they were young enough that they still thought I knew stuff that they didn’t. I think they’ve wised up since then.
This is how it went down:
Me: Katie, I have a new friend for you.
Katie: Who is it?
Me: It’s a mountain.
Me: Her name is Cheyenne. She’s that one, see? On the left, all the way at the end. Her real name is Cheyenne Mountain, but you can just call her Cheyenne.
Katie: It’s a mountain? How can it be your friend?
Me: Oh, it’s easy. You can be friends with anything if you talk to it long enough. I’m friends with that mountain in the middle.
Katie: That’s the biggest one! Why do you get the best mountain?
Timmy: Can I have a mountain, too?
Me: Yeah, you can have any mountain you want! Except for mine. I was friends with her first, and she only wants to be friends with me.
Suzy: Can I play with you guys?
Me: We’re being friends with mountains.
Timmy: I want that one on the right.
Katie: I don’t think I want to be friends with a mountain.
Me: You have to. I already told them that you guys would be their friends. They’ll be sad if you don’t.
Katie: Oh. Okay…
Timmy: I’m going to name my mountain “Mushroom.”
Me: It doesn’t look like a mushroom.
Timmy: Mushroom is my friend. Hi, Mushroom!
Me: Okay, whatever. Suzy, which one do you—
Me: Yay what?
Suzy: You guys are letting me play!
Me: Yeah, okay.
After that, we had regular meetings during which we talked about how our mountain friends were doing. I guess I eventually grew out of it, and my siblings breathed a sigh of relief that I was no longer asking them incessantly about whether they were being good friends to their mountains or not.
Every once in a while, though, I still wonder if M&M misses me, and I wonder how many weird little kids she’s been a good friend to over the years. Probably a lot. And they probably all leave her in the end.
Poor M&M. It’s hard to be a mountain.
Did you have an imaginary friend when you were little? Do you think they’re lonely now that you’re all grown up? I bet they are.