Kelly was always a sweet little girl, with angelic brown eyes and a warm smile that could make diamonds melt, and we always had a close relationship. But Kelly has always been different from other kids, I’d always felt it in my heart. She’s always been extremely quiet, not very voluntarily sociable with other children, a bit like me when I was younger.
When all the girls in her kindergarten class went to Samantha Kipling’s princess-themed tea party, Kelly adamantly chose to stay home and play with her dolls. Out of the four years that she’s been in school, her teachers always would always remark that Kelly had trouble opening up to other kids and even to them. While I don’t personally believe in becoming too socially integrated or putting too much trust in others myself, I didn’t want exactly the same for Kelly. I wanted her to develop and maintain a solid web of friendships because I knew her family life wasn’t as bright and happy as the other kids’, but that never happened. Sometimes, I feel like it’s my fault.
Kelly is 8-years-old now, as of last week, but the troubles plaguing our little family began about a year ago, just after her 7th birthday. Our cozy relationship has never been the same since. It all started the day I got a call at work from her second grade teacher:
“Hi Ms. Zhang, it’s Mrs. Telson, I needed to talk to you about something that happened today in class.”
“Has Kelly told you about her new friends?”
I was taken aback by this question as Kelly’s always been a closed-off child by nature, quiet and introverted. She had never told me about any new friends recently.
“These ‘friends’ of Kelly’s have been asking her to do things… But to tell you the truth, Ms. Zhang, I don’t think these friends exist.”
“So you’re saying my daughter has imaginary friends?”
“At this age, we actually encourage imaginary friends, but today, Kelly had an incident with another child and she had to be sent to the nurse and then home.”
“What exactly did she do?”