There was talk today of imaginary friends, and I began to think that - as a child - I never had one. Then I remembered the weeks of lone, hot, summer holidays when I cycled the same 50 yard route outside our house, over, over and over again.
For some reason, the tune "I Remember You" by Frank Ifield was played repeatedly in my head as I rode obsessively across our front entrance, over the lump in the tarmac caused by the bulging root in the Poplar tree, past the other entrance (we had a big house), then round the other three gateways of our millionaire neighbors and back again, just to repeat the process for another 20 or 30 times until the light began to fail and I went in for tea.
It was little like the zoo tiger that walks to one side of his cage then back again - over and over again - but it lasted only until I had reached the point when the average captive tiger would have died through boredom or heartache.
Then today, I remembered that I did indeed have an imaginary friend, but she was an imaginary girlfriend. Nothing unusual about that, you might say, especially in an adolescent boy.
She was American - probably because of all the imported TV I had watched up until that point - and I spent the rest of my early adulthood trying to find her.
In this search, I had many American girlfriends, but none of them were her. I no longer look for her, but she still exists if I really did want to meet her again after all these years.
In any case, I am too old for her now. She is the same age as she always was, but I have grown into an old man. Any further contact would be inappropriate.