Rachel Gould

My imaginary friend is a real person

I made a friend recently. An imaginary friend. An imaginary friend about whom I cannot share identity or gender, nation or nationality, profession or interests that might reveal my friend’s identity. We met in a an unknown place doing nothing I can tell you about. I cannot reveal any identifying information so that I can keep my imaginary friend safe. My imaginary friend is a real person.

I can tell you that we met outside of our respective countries. You know I’m an Israeli, and I’m also an American. My friend is neither.

My friend knows I am writing this, has seen it and approved, and added to this content. My friend will not get any credit or recognition. We hope that my friend will remain safe when my friend returns home.

I am an imaginary friend. The only difference is I can identify myself – I’m not hidden from the world. At least not from the majority of the world.

I’m meeting lots of interesting people who are engaged intellectually with what they are choosing to do with their lives at this moment in time. It’s exciting and exhilarating and energizing. And the most remarkable person I met must remain in the shadows, in my imagination.

My imaginary friend and I had an honest conversation over lunch. We talked about life here and life there and what those who are there think about those who are here and vice versa. We asked each other the same question – is it really as bad as the news makes it out to be? Yes, and no.

We talked about the barriers we see in the world. The barriers between peoples, between countries, between religions, barriers primarily put in place by men who are in power and wish to remain in power. We agreed it is a model that doesn’t seem to be getting us anywhere – internally and externally. And in our imaginations we can fix this problem. And because of our imaginary-ness we are stuck and unable to see how we can activate our imaginations and bring about the real change this world so desperately needs. When you are imaginary it is so easy to dream.

When children create imaginary friends parents encourage this creativity and know (or at least hope) that in time the imaginary friend will be forgotten and left behind. Looking in the face of my imaginary friend I wish that this friend will never be forgotten or left behind. I wish that our friendship can be made real and permanent and visible. The leaders of the world must be made to see that in order to move forward we must all see and be seen.

About the Author
Rachel Gould made aliyah in 2010 to Haifa and now lives in Yokneam. She is a PhD Candidate in Public Policy at TAU focusing on environmental and population policies. She was a candidate for city council in Yokneam on the Mekomi list in 2018.