I do my friendship test on him :
Where do you go when you hide from yourself?
We are suddenly buddies.
He turns to me, shoulder to shoulder, soul to soul
“Like when you want to cry as the plane takes off
and you cant tell anyone that you hate flying
and are scared of going crash-bang –over?
And when you really want to pick up the free
pens and pads at the conference -
everyone does but your guilt brought you up
to hesitate and see?
And like when you admire the watch
some friend wears that cost 20 K
and you want to tell him, hey,
there are people dying in our backyard
and there are watches that cost 200
But your politeness freezes your smile,
and you did buy that shirt for two grand
Also you fear he might call you a commie
and its a word you hate –
surely you stand for Free Enterprise
But want to make sure that those
kids in your country that you know through your TV
don’t have to grovel and get raped for
2 bucks a day
and you no longer know what system or economies
can guarantee that
and what should you do and what can you do?”
He pauses to breathe.
“And also like when you really have
no compassion, no, none
And want to be left alone to read and dream
and not get involved
or smile at your friends
or listen to some crap or the other
that your loved ones are bound to dole out?
And when you lie about things that don’t
seem to matter and …. “
OK, I said , something like that.
(He might make it I think)
But where do you go and hide then?
Where do you go and hide then? he says
I don’t, I murmur
Where are you now?
Not here, I whisper
Are you hiding? He is curious
If you can’t see me, I am
So you’re hidden! He says triumphantly
No, not from myself, I shout in my head.
See, he says – we’re the same, we’re friends - we both want to hide.
So does everyone else. But where do you go when you hide from yourself?
He looks at me blankly.
Did he fail that test? Well, we aren’t friends yet.