I used to think that the toys in my room came to life when I wasn’t there. I remember setting the toys out all over my room, and then closing the door really slowly, peeking inside. Sometimes I’d close the door and listen to it for hours, trying to make sure they weren’t having fun without me. The problem was that I could never disprove it. No matter what I did, those toys could always just be a little more sneaky than I was.
Other times I suspected that when I wasn’t around, everybody just ceased to exist. That part of the world just wasn’t there anymore. Then, if I went somewhere, everyone would suddenly pop back into existence, but only long enough to entertain me. As soon as I left, everything would disappear. Sometimes I would turn around really quick to see what was behind me, trying to catch the world forming itself before my very eyes.
I used to wonder if every day I woke up, I would be in a different person’s body. But because I would get their memories and feelings and everything, I would be tricked into thinking that I had always been in that body. Maybe other people were in my body today, doing strange things to it that I would never do.
I used to wonder if some people experienced time in slow motion. There were some kids in gym class who could run faster than anybody else. If the coach pitched the ball to them, perhaps they would see that ball flying slowly through the air — an easy target. They could swing the bat faster than anyone else, and always hit home runs. Maybe that’s why Mike Tyson was so good. He was in an eternal state of time dilation where everything seemed to be slow. That’s why he hit harder and faster than everybody else. And maybe that’s why his voice was so high.
Sometimes I imagined that everyone in the world was a robot, except for me. Or maybe I was the only robot. It was all a great kid conspiracy, and they were all in on it. Perhaps everyone could fly or do magic, but they didn’t want to hurt my feelings, so they all just acted normal when I was around.
I used to think that my brother Jim could enter a magical world without me knowing it. Because he was always disappearing. Maybe he could open space and time like a zipper and just walk through the portal whenever he wanted to. Like a secret door to Narnia. In that door there were parties and friends and giant games of laser tag. I was certain that he was hiding it from me. Sometimes I’d search every room in the house looking for him. I’d go outside and yell for him, but he had vanished. Then he’d show up an hour later, and I’d ask him where he was. “Nowhere.”