On a warm evening in June a few years ago, my cousin, Christina, my neighbor, Shannon, and I ran around outside. We played hide-and-seek, tag, and other such games. The sun was just beginning to sink and the sky was getting darker. Everything was tinted pale grey making it a perfect time to play hide-and-seek. Shannon was it. As she counted, Christina and I scattered and ran for hiding places. I crouched in a well known spot behind the bushes in a neighbor’s yard. It was often overlooked and I hoped that Shannon wouldn’t notice me in the shadows. At the end of her countdown, Shannon began her search and five minutes passed before she found me. Together, we attempted to locate Christina. We walked across my front lawn, stooping to check in the bushes; we then continued through Shannon’s yard, checking bushes as we went. When we got to the other end of her lawn, we headed towards Shannon’s backyard. The yard next to hers was off limits at the time because our friend who lived there wasn’t playing with us at that time and no one was home. As we walked between the two houses, I saw a light on in our friend’s house. I pointed this out to Shannon, and when we looked at it again, the silhouette of a man in a chair had appeared. As we watched, the light went off and the man disappeared. Our imaginations distorted what we had seen, whatever it really was, into a ghostly apparition. As we recounted the story later to Christina, our imaginations played off each other and we became certain that we had seen a ghost. Other than Christina, no one that we told about the man in the window believed us, but we were convinced of what we had seen.
The power of our imaginations amazes me. My memory of that day is completely dependent on how my imagination interpreted what I saw in my friend’s window. I believe in the impact that imagination has on people’s memories. Imagination puts a unique spin on common experiences, makes insignificant events significant and unmemorable incidents memorable. Other than seeing the silhouette of a man in the window of an empty house, nothing significant or unusual happened that day. There were many days that summer, the summers before and the summers to follow, in which Shannon, Christina, and I played just as we had the day we saw that apparition, but I don’t remember all of those days. I only remember this day because of how the imaginations of three kids twisted its normality into abnormality.
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