At first, I thought she was just an invisible friend. My daughter, Kylie was one-and-a-half, and it was perfectly normal for little girls to pretend to be playing with some one. For hours, she would play and play with this invisible person, even walking her invisible green dog. She would get out an extra doll for her friend, and wanted a plate at the table for her as well.
One day, I walked right into my living room, and sat on Kylie's invisible friend. You would think I murdered my daughter's pet cat, then drank its blood right in front of her. I jumped up like lightening shot at me from my chair, not sure at first what the problem was. I ran to my little girl, convinced from the shriek that emerged from her mouth that she'd somehow broken a major bone. After I calmed her down, she told me that I sat on Dorothy.
I asked her who Dorothy was, and she told me the story of a little girl whose parents died in a fire. Quietly, I listened to the account of Dorothy, and her quest to find her parents. Goosebumps flaring, and hair standing on the back of my neck, I swallowed the lump in my throat, and asked my daughter to explain to me what Dorothy looked like. What she told me next sent a chill through my body that I'll never forget. Dorothy was small, like my daughter. In her nearly two-year-old words, she explained her new friend as wrinkly, like a raisin, but red, and she had no hair. Instantly, I pictured this burned little charcoal girl having a tea party with my daughter, and I was mortified.
For more than two years, Dorothy was part of our every day lives. I was sure she would be with us forever. She had a place at the table, her own seat in our car, and I always made sure to ask where she was before I sat down. Before long, even friends and family would ask about Dorothy, and how she was doing. My daughter would beam with pride as she told us every word that Dorothy spoke. It wasn't a huge amount of time before the fear fell away.
Early one morning shortly after Kylie's fourth birthday, I sat outside with a cup of coffee to watch the fog. Kylie skipped outside frantically trying to tell me something. After I calmed her down, she told me that Dorothy found her parents, and she was moving home. Also, she was beautiful. She wasn't red, and she had long blond hair. Dorothy left us that day. Strangely, we all missed her, and still talk about her to this day. She was real, not only to my daughter, but to our family, and everyone who knew us. She was a lost soul for a time, and my baby kept her from being lonely. I believe Kylie showed her the way to heaven, where Dorothy's parents waited for her. No one will ever convince me otherwise, because for three years, my daughter's best friend was a ghost.