Billy Bluebottle was my friend. I didn't even know what a bluebottle was but it was Billy Bluebottle's name and only his name conjured up from some recess in my mind. He was never just Billy, always Billy Bluebottle, exclaimed in one breath to parents who worried.
Billy Bluebottle was a grown-up who played with me ceaselessly, always had time for me, never went away to sea or had to rush to make the tea. Billy Bluebottle talked to me. Billy Bluebottle comforted me and accompanied me.
Since, I have been asked if he told me frightening things. Billy Bluebottle was not frightening; he told me things, though. He told me now would be a good time to wash the felt-tipped pen from my fingers, or that maybe I ought to read for my homework.
I never saw Billy Bluebottle, not really, I was aware that he was there, that he cared. He was there for me when my mind wouldn't stop rushing, he would reach into my brain and s-l-o-w it all down to muted noise that was easier to bear.
Billy Bluebottle made my childhood easier. I remember very little of my childhood; being mental or taking drugs or a coping mechanism, I don't know. But I remember Billy Bluebottle as clearly as if I still had him.
Billy Bluebottle drove an orange Mini. I never saw the Mini either, but I knew it existed because Billy Bluebottle told me so. If Billy Bluebottle said something was true, I didn't question it. Billy Bluebottle never lied to me, even when he told me he was real.