I would not have been so shocked if it was my first time seeing that little boy, but he had been in the fabric of my consciousness for so long that he wasn't a stranger anymore. I have seen him many, many times before, but never this far from where he had initially befriended me.
I first saw him in my room when I was nine, in the white rocking chair stationed by my bed, with his legs curled up under him. He was staring at me with a curious smile on his face, and other than wondering who he was, I accepted his presence without any second thoughts. He grinned at the confusion that must have been evident on my face, then waved a chubby hand and said, "Hi!" When I woke up again the next day, it didn't even occur to me to ask my Mom who the strange little boy I had seen in my room was. He just seemed too natural to be unreal.
After that incident, he would often appear to me, usually in the early morning hours waiting for me to wake up. One morning I was lying on my side and when I woke up there he was, looking at my sleeping face again. I wondered what it was about sleep that fascinated him.
One night I woke up to a warm weight on the space beside me and laughed when I discovered who it was. It was Sam, sleeping beside me and looking exactly like my little brother did when he was curled up beside me. I threw my arm around him and fell fast asleep.
I'd gotten so used to his presence that I eventually named him. I called him Sam.
Sam soon became a part of my life, appearing to me about three times a week, sometimes more, often less. I became so used to him being there, sometimes I wouldn't even bother waking up when I felt him. He would often blow air into my face to try to wake me up.
It was precisely ,because he was solid, and could blow air, that I never thought he was a ghost.