I used to have a friend,
I used to have a friend who was different.
He was different, unlike any friend I had ever had,
He was my different friend.
I always knew he was different, because he told me,
You see it wasn't just me, he knew he was different.
But strangely I loved this friend,
I loved him, my different friend.
I could always see his difference,
Like a man trying to hide his shadow, he did a poor job.
But that was a part of his charm,
Part of his cheerful innocence.
Like a small, innocent, puppy,
Like a yellow budgie with clipped wings, I loved him.
I remember the first day I smelt it,
I smelt his difference.
I remember pretending not to,
Pretending that it couldn't be what I knew it was.
The moment he laughed,
his shadow was.
But we talked about the shadow,
And hidden again it was.
Like a mountain climber teaching a geologist about rocks,
I told him how hard it is when you fall.
How hard it was when I fell onto rocks,
He knew already, and could tell me intimate details about the rocks.
He knew everything,
Except how not to fall.
So again he fell,
Harder and harder the rocks became.
Chipping slowly away at his resolve,
With every stumble forward.
Was his shadow.
His shadow pushed him,
Out of his shell and into the spotlight, yes.
All the spotlight could show,
When the shadow of yesterday is a bottle,
The light of the morning is a scary place to sit.
I had a friend who was different and I loved,
I don't see that friend so much anymore,
but the love never left.
First published April 10, 2015
Tim Shallard a co-director of Mosaic Workshop a shared creative space in central Auckland. He also works in a café, studies theology at Carey Baptist College, runs a poetry collective. His passions include coffee, community, and people living the dream
Tim Shallard's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/tim-shallard.html