There was a sad man who sat beside my bed.
He is one of the first things I remember. Other kids' imaginary friends were much more exciting. They had cowboys and princesses and animals of every description. But all I had was my Sad Man, and he wasn't exciting at all. All he ever did was sit there, and read his book (a different one each time, not that I could tell the difference. This was before I learned to read.) Sometimes he would hum snatches of Gilbert & Sullivan to himself. (I didn't know what they were at the time. It was only later, when I was 19 and saw the Pirates of Penzance for the first time that I recognized the music as the songs my Sad Man would sing.) And he would say weird things. "I tried to smuggle some gin into your room," he said once, "but they caught me." Or once, "remember when your parents found out you were gay?" (I couldn't.) And on one memorable occasion, "how did you manage to blow up that hotel room?" (I didn't know.)
Sad Man liked to pretend he wasn't sad