Because you can be what you're not
for only so long,
one day the tiger cub raised by goats
wandered to the lake and saw himself.
It was astounding
to have a face like that, cat-handsome,
hornless, and we can imagine he stared
a long time, then sipped
and pivoted, bemused yet burdened now
with choice. The mother goat had nursed him.
The others had tolerated
his silly quickness and claws.
And because once you know who you are
you need not rush,
and good parents are a blessing
whoever they are, he went back to them,
rubbing up against
their bony shins, keeping his secret to himself.
But after a while the tiger who'd found
his true face
felt the disturbing hungers, those desires
to get low in the reeds, swish his tail,
Because he was a cat he disappeared
without goodbyes, his goat-parents relieved
such a thing was gone.
And we can imagine how, alone and beyond
choice, he wholly became who he was
that zebra or gazelle
stirring the great blood rush and odd calm
as he discovered, while moving, what needed
to be done.
Poem by his favorite Poet: Stephen Dunn from the book LOOSESTRIFE
When I first went to a farmer's market, I met a guy who worked there. He was always really friendly, charming, and polite. I didn't think much of it. As much as I compare and contrast, I can be pretty self-centered when I'm given attention. So I never realized how he treated me differently or that he was always paying attention to me. Maybe that's naive, but he's in the business of customer service and satisfaction. It's part of his job. I was never very good at distinguishing these slight differences.
Plus I thought he was gay. Now I wonder what the Hell I was thinking. It's so obvious now that he's not and he was really into me. Sometimes, I wonder if those feelings still linger in him. He gets a lot of premonitions, too, and is supernaturally connected in ways I'm not. He starts knowing people so well while the relationship has barely established its acquaintance status.
Eventually we became friends. But he failed to tell me for years that he was married until the time came that meeting her would be inevitable when he offered me a job in his company. Or at least that's the way I saw it. Why else would he keep his marriage a secret? He told me that he'd be going on vacation and where he was going, while completely neglecting to tell me that it's to get married. Who does that? We were friends. He also admitted that he really, really liked me and had plenty of opportunities to reveal this life changing reality and chose not to until keeping the secret was no longer viable.
It's a well-known rule to not work with or for friends, but this situation was different. It's not advisable for virtually anyone to work with him because his perception is dangerously and unpredictably distorted and he not only projects and enforces but executes his professional practice with his misconstrued perception. It lends for financial catastrophe. He manages to survive resourcefully without proper compensation and struggles in his life because of it. He's well aware of how possible it is, so it frustrates him when people want to get paid properly because he's not profiting himself. But the truth is that that's his choice. The rest of us don't want to lead that kind of a lifestyle.
He's clever and manipulative. For whatever reason, he's desperate to not move forward in his dreams whether he realizes it or not. To continue to do things the way he does, he has to attract a demographic of people who are more compromised in their integrity, which, in turn, aggravates him. It's this vicious cycle and one I shouldn't have involved myself in. But by the time I found out, it was too late.
It's tragic, really, because he's one of the most compassionate and gentle souls I've ever met. But his ability to be destructive is equaled with no abandon, a polar opposite that he exploits cunningly. It saddens me when I think of it because of the friendship I developed with him and because I can see the good in him. Our friendship is an example of one I don't want to let go but one I know I must. I can't be a part of his life. It's not right for me. If he were to change, though, it'd be different. But he doesn't want to. Therein lies my sadness.
Maybe it's incredibly selfish for me to think like this, but a part of me feels like he's choosing his shady side over me. I wouldn't have to discard our friendship if he wasn't such an ass! I've gone over this in my mind countless times, and I always return where I began. Nothing changes. I wish I weren't disappointed by it, but it's better I'm bummed out than keep a lie going and get exploited in the process.
This is something that affects me more than I would like but a thought I don't contemplate very often. The fact that I can go on with my life and live it as though he was never a part of it depresses me, too. It makes me wonder if he didn't matter all that much to me. I know it isn't true, but my mind isn't immune from those thoughts.
That poem is his favorite. When we were scared because he had lumps in his throat that might be cancerous, I gave him three crystals. Each one possesses something - a healing property, mental clarity, emotional stability, aspects he needs to incorporate in his life. I gave him three because it became a symbolic number for me as I started getting premonitions. I figured he can leave one at home, put one in his car, and carry one with him. But it was really up to his discretion. I can tell that he was really moved by it. He thanked me and said that it's the nicest thing someone's done for him in a really long time including his wife....
Eeeee......As a thank you, he reciprocated with a laptop bag (something I desperately needed) and a copy of that poem. It was printed out on beautiful white paper. I've carried it with me everywhere I went, and now it's damaged. The paper's wrinkled, some of the ink's chunked off, and it looks beaten, bruised, abused. When I saw it recently, I realized how the condition of that poem was a reflection and quite possibly a manifestation of our friendship...