Just as a small child has a distorted sense of the passage of time, so too is my recollection of how long I knew the Old Man. In retrospect, I would estimate from the ages of 3 to 6 years old? Hence, I cannot accurately say when certain events transpired. I can put my best guess at it and try to make sense of it.
The Old Man's early appearances were, initially, frightening -- most spirits had minimal interaction with me but he was intent on communicating with me. He did eventually clarify that he wasn't there to frighten me. I daresay we were friends?
At one point, I grew to appreciate his presence. When he was around, nothing came to haunt me and nightmares were rare. When he was away... it's as if the Bad Things, the things we fear, knew it was safe to come after me.
At one point, the Bad Things started to come after me when the Old Man was around. He told me he could hold them off a bit but I would have to be strong if something got past him. I mustn't show fear, the Bad Things lived for that. I recall having just enough fortitude to stand up to one such Bad Thing one night, a shadowy creature with a barely audible but very angry hiss.
The details of these conflicts are muddled. I recall Mom walking in my room on one such night, to find out what the noises were coming from my room. I was huddled up, peering just over the edge of my sheets clutched close to my face. Going from the lit hallway to my darkened room, she didn't see the clothes that had been in mid-air fall to the ground. She just complained that I had a messy room and hadn't we just cleaned it up before I went to bed? I couldn't tell her why the clothes were there because she never believed me when I told her about the ghosts.
Those instances were rare; for the most part, the Old Man and I laughed and played games and enjoyed being able to perceive each other.