Jim was startled awake from a deep sleep one night. He had the very uneasy feeling he wasn't alone. He turned on his bedside light and checked out the room. Nobody there. He checked again. Still nobody there. Hell, I even checked under the bed. Haven't done that since I was a little kid. He tried to go back to sleep, but that was impossible. About 5AM he gave up and went to the the kitchen to get a cup of coffee. He had to be at work in two hours. But there, sitting at his small dining table, was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Deep green eyes, the color of emeralds. Long red hair. A nightgown which hid very little of her charms.
“Uhm … who are you, and how did you get in here?”
“Do you really want to know?”
“I'm not really sure...”
“I am your chimera.”
“My what? I've never heard of one of those.”
“I have been with you since you were born, and I will be with you until the day you die.”
Jim sat down and thought about this for a good long while. “So you are sort of like a guardian angel or some deal like that?”
“No, not a guardian angel. We do different things. Although I would be glad to introduce you to your guardian angel. You do have one of those, you know.”
“I never believed that stuff. What exactly do you do?”
“That's really hard to explain.” Jim was fascinated with her voice. It was so melodic. He had never heard a human speak that way. “First, Jim, as a chimera I am only an illusion. I don't really exist. Except I exist for you. In general, I just sort of look after you. Try to see you are happy most of the time. That kind of thing. You've been an easy client so far.”
“OK, where do you come from?”
“I come from your mind.”
“Look, I'm 47. I've never seen you before. Why are you here now?”
“Jim, you've seen me plenty of times. Thousand of times, in fact. You just never knew what you were looking at. Or you wouldn't accept it. I'm here now because now is the right time.
“I don't think I believe any of this.”
“Well, that is probably enough for now. Go on to work. I'll see you tonight.” And with that the chimera vanished.
Jim went to work, trying not to think of the strange encounter he'd had. Work was very busy, and it wasn't hard to believe it was all just a dream. It did take his mind off things, at least. On the way home from work he stopped at a local diner for dinner. While he was eating he tried to piece the whole encounter together. Much of it was very fuzzy. Jim thought about this. You always forget dreams fairly fast, right? He concluded it was just a dream, and he wouldn't worry about it.
He pulled up to his small house and got the mail. He noticed the newspaper was not on the lawn. He'd have to call the paper and complain about the paperboy again. He opened the front door and set the mail down on the hall table. He looked around and the chimera was there. Sitting on the couch, reading the newspaper. She had changed into sweats and put her long hair into a ponytail, but she was every bit as gorgeous as she was that morning. Jim wasn't sure what to say.
“Anything interesting in the news?”
“Not really. Politics, crime, sports. You humans don't have a very wide range of interests.”
Jim sat down in the chair across from her. “Can you try to explain to me again who or what exactly you are?”
“Sure. As I said, I'm only an illusion. I don't exist. Except for you. I exist for you. Your mind, your imagination, creates me.”
“So if someone else was here, say a friend of mine, they couldn't see you?”
“That depends. They could see me if you wanted them to see me. Otherwise, no, they wouldn't see me.”
Jim walked over and grabbed the chimera's wrist. It was solid, like any other wrist he'd ever touched. “See, you aren't an illusion. You are solid. Just like a regular human person.”
“I am only solid because you want me to be. I don't have to be solid. Watch this.”
Jim's hand fell to his thigh. The chimera was still there. The wrist was still there. But his hand had somehow completely and suddenly dropped right through it. And he had a pretty tight grip.
Jim had no idea what to say. “I'm beat. I think I'll hit the sack early.”
“Go ahead. I'll be up in a while.”
“Where do you people … uh, things … uh, creatures ... sleep?”
“I sleep right next to you.”
“Why haven't I felt you there? Why haven't I seen you there?”
She smiled. “Only because you haven't wanted to.”
Jim had lived with his chimera for about three weeks. They got along really well. Almost too well. The chimera was driving him crazy with lust, and he thought he might be falling in love with it. He knew he needed some professional help, or he would eventually end up in the nuthouse. And there he could sit around in group therapy sessions while everyone talked about their imaginary friends. He wasn't going to do that. He made an appointment.
“Good afternoon, Mr. Wells. Please have seat.”
“Thank you doctor.”
“What brings you here today?”
“It's hard to talk about. Have you ever heard of a chimera?”
“Sure. In ancient Greek mythology a Chimera was a imaginary beast made up of various animals. In psychology a chimera is defined as an 'illusion or a fabrication of the mind.' In popular culture a chimera is an unobtainable dream. Why do you ask?”
“Well, doctor, I have one.”
Both men sat in silence for a good three or four minutes. “Jim, when you say you have a chimera, what do you mean exactly?”
“Doctor, I mean I got one. A chimera. She's told me the same things you just told me. She says she is only a product of my imagination. She says she doesn't exist. She's just an illusion. Except she does exist for me. I think I am losing my mind. We've been together for three weeks now. When I want her to be she can be as solid as any other human woman. Other times I can walk right through her. What is going on?”
Again the men sat in silence for a few minutes. “Jim, let's take the last definition I gave. An unobtainable dream. Now you haven't said, but I'd guess your chimera is a very attractive woman.”
“Yes she is, doctor. The most beautiful woman I've ever seen.”
“I think what is happening here, Jim, is you are fantasizing about your dream woman. You are 47, correct?”
“And you aren't getting any younger. You probably think you have no chance at a good looking woman at your age. So you just created one.”
“But she exists, doctor. She really does. I've seen her. I've talked to her. She reads the newspaper. She is a real woman.”
“No, she isn't. Listen to what she says, Jim. She says she only exists for you. She even says she is just a product of your imagination. And that's all she is. An imaginary friend. There is nothing real to her.”
“But I have a question, doctor. Can you fall in love with a chimera?”
“I think our time is just about over for today. I'd like to see you in a week. In the meantime, try not to think about your chimera. She only exists when you want her there. Do whatever you need to do to keep your mind off of her.”
“I'll try doctor.”
Jim drove home in a state of confusion. Both the chimera and the doctor were telling him the same thing – she didn't exist. But he knew she existed. He had grabbed her arm and it was ever bit as solid as any human woman he'd ever grabbed. She had to be real. Either that, or he really was going crazy.
His chimera was waiting for him at home. “How was the doctor's appointment today, hon?” He hadn't told her about the appointment. How did she know?
“How did you know about that?”
“I am a product of your mind, remember? I know what you are thinking and doing. I am in there with all your other thoughts.”
“Well, the doc says you don't exist, and I should just ignore you.”
“Is that what you want to do?”
“No, not at all. You're the best thing that has ever happened to me. And … I'm falling in love with you.”
“I'm very flattered, Jim.”
“Do your type, whatever you are, ever fall in love with … humans?”
“It's rare, but it has happened.”
“So I still have a chance?
“I'm going to bed early. Care to join me?”
“I'll be up in a while. Don't wait up for me.”
Rather than follow the doctor's advice and trying to ignore the chimera Jim became obsessed with the idea of seducing her. He wasn't sure if a chimera and a human could, well, you know. But he figured if she was indeed a product of his imagination he could make her do anything. Even “that.” He made a few abortive attempts at it. She brushed him off each time. She said, again, that she was a chimera. She didn't really exist.
But she was getting really friendly. She referred to him as “hon” and “babe” and “darling.” And the worst, which she sometimes used, “lover.” She often touched him, and stroked his hair. He was starting to think maybe she wasn't a chimera after all. Maybe she was a witch. Witches could put spells on people and that would explain a lot. A witch could make him think the she was a chimera.
The chimera was sitting at the kitchen table the next morning, as usual. She was wearing her usual nightgown which revealed far too much. It was everything Jim could do not to jump her bones right there.
“Let me ask you this. Are you a witch?”
“Not as a witch is strictly defined. I do have some special powers, though.”
“What sorts of special powers?”
“Well, as you know I can be invisible. I can disappear. I can also read minds. And I am immortal. That covers the important things.”
That evening Jim and the chimera were sitting on the couch watching TV, eating popcorn, and drinking wine. He reached to her and tentatively grabbed her hand. She would sometime hold hands with him. Sadly, he knew that holding hands was about as intimate as they'd ever get. Her hand was delicate and warm. Jim had decided something. He was going to settle this one way or the other, tonight. He just couldn't live with the stress of not knowing any more. If she didn't respond to him he would show the chimera the door. However you do that with am imaginary creature.
So Jim boldly wrapped his arms around her, and pulled her tight. She was all solid, a 100% woman. His lips were less than an inch from hers. Should I do it? What the hell! He softly put his lips on hers and gave her a gentle kiss. She responded with more passion. Before long their lips and tongues were wrapped and wound around each other. Jim could not take it, and he drew back. The chimera looked him directly in the eyes and smiled. “You see, Jim, I am real. I always have been.”