It all started when I was very young, my mother always thought of me as an "Old Soul" by the way I analyzed things and how I acted. I remembered going through her closet and she asked me what I was doing. At 3 years old, I replied, "When you get to be as old as I am, you'll understand." My mother confirmed my memory wasn't a dream.
The most vivid thing of my childhood, however, is a little boy I played with. I was convinced he was an imaginary friend, because that's what my family always said. It didn't help that I told them that he grew like I did with each passing year. He would visit me in my dreams when I got a bit too old to play with "imaginary friends." We would talk and laugh, and he was there for me in the hard times. He was there in my nightmares, fighting alongside with me. I had many strange dreams that I'm not sure I'm ready to share about them.
To help your imagination, the boy had thick brown hair, and these kind of honey-hazel eyes. He had a crooked smile and his laugh always made me feel comforted.
Well, one day the dreams just stopped. Maybe it was because my emotions were running high, and he couldn't be there when I tried to block everything away from me. I'm not sure. I remember feeling lonely without him, and kept mentally arguing with myself that I was too old for that.
And then, after my grandmother passed, she visited me in a dream. It's hard to believe it's been a few years now. I think I was 18 at the time. My grandmother loved to make things. She had made my old baby blanket I still have tucked safe somewhere. I plan on giving it to a child I have one day.
When my grandmother visited me, I remember in my dream that we were walking around the old school house that was directly in front of her house. All of a sudden, I hear running on the gravel. I look to see my grandmother smiling and turning around. So I turn to see what she was looking at, and saw a tall, a much darker brown-haired, honey-hazel-eyed man that looked my age. I blinked before I realized who he was, immediately, and smiled. I was so happy to see him, and my grandmother seemed pleased. I remember asking her if she knew him, and her rely puzzled me. "Yes, dear, I know him, and you will too, soon."
I thought I already knew him. I wanted to open my mouth and argue, but I realized he was carrying my baby blanket. It was mine. I knew that, because it was a pale yellow with baby blue rocking horses and old-timey teddy bears on it. He wrapped around my grandmother's shoulders and said they had to go, but he would be back every now and then.
And they walked away, down toward the park at the bottom of the side of the hill by the schoolhouse. Just as they turned the corner, I remember them slowly fading away and I woke up.
Now, I wasn't about to tell my mother or father any of this, because one, they were still heavily in the mourning process. She was my father's mother, but she treated my mother like her own daughter, and my mother loved her.
The dream I had kept nagging at me, though. Why did he have my baby blanket? Why did my grandmother say I would come to know him?
I waited, dream after dream for him to show himself. When he did, I asked for his name. He just smiled, a little sadly at me, "I was never given a name."
That really confused me. I called him something when I was little, but I couldn't remember.
All my imaginary friends had names, I made sure of it. It would make no sense he didn't have one. But, I overlooked that and the dream went on.
One morning, however, I caught my mother crying about this story on a woman who miscarried a baby. I asked if she was okay, and she said was sad. Well, that was obvious, but I didn't press. Then, out of nowhere, and kind of bluntly, she turns to me and says, "You're a Rainbow Baby, you know. I had a miscarriage right before you. The baby was at that large kind of peanut-shaped stage at the time I lost it." And drew me a picture. She would have had it for about 3 months at that stage. What she said then had me feeling oddly angry after my initial shock. "I got pregnant with you almost immediately after." It was then that the room tilted on it's side, and that's always a sign of hug confirmation for me, when the world tilts.
I choked down my first feelings and asked her what she would have named it, and turns out she hadn't thought about that. I asked her if it was a boy. She gave me a few names, but said Ian and Vincent were her favorites. I went into my room after writing them down.
It took a long time to process, and I did the math. The miscarriage would have directly overlapped me, so I might have been born premature, or died in the first place. I thought about how my father always wanted a boy, and how I was named after him to make up for it. I knew. I knew my "imaginary friend" had always been my brother. All the memories I had with him came rushing back. How I used to pull my long hair up into my baseball cap and laugh and tell him we almost looked the same. How I declared he was my brother, and how everyone told me he was imaginary.
I had another dream of him that night. In my dream, I was sleeping when he came in. I sat up and watched him. He looked sad. I told him I was mad at my mother for never telling me about him. She didn't know he would have been a boy, but I knew. When she drew the little sketch, I instantly saw his face in my mind, and I told him. I told him I found a name for him. He smiled and sat next to me and asked what his name was. "Ian. Your name is Ian Vincent."
He beamed at that and said he liked it. I knew he would. Before I woke up, he said he would be back again, and he did show up here and there. I can feel him throughout the day now, in the little things.
As my grandmother told me, I knew him. I know him.
I went through a grieving process over the brother I never knew I had, but still sort of got to spend time with. I wasn't just a Rainbow Baby, he would have been kind of my twin if he had stayed around. I told my friends about him, and used a morphing generator and a picture touch-up software to create a likeness of him. Not long ago, I was able to make the perfect picture of him. I made on as I remembered him when we were younger, and another that matched him now.
Ian still visits me every now and then, and helps me through the touch times. I hope he visits again soon.