This one is for Jessica Lynn...
It seemed improbable that I would come to be their ally. He was arrogant but intelligent, vulgar but precise. In his character, there were to be found the vices that I once exhibiting years ago. As I tried with focus to eliminate these attributes in myself, I tried to develop my complimentary traits. I believed that the greatest social change that can come to a society will come from those who are patient, willing, and intelligent. No advancement of civilization can come when the rabblerousers are blindfolded, when the people become moths, following wherever the light goes. This man and I, we hardly ever mingled, until a great deal of time had passed. He had known of me, and I had known of him. We both had the same interests, the same desire for a society that did not abuse its animals, for a social construct that did not set up the exploitation of laborers. But then the occasion would have for it that we would meet and exchange our thoughts. One of the finest moments of our lives, we confided in each other, was when we realized the brutality, the insane logic and reasoning which had been used to justify the greatest cruelties, the vicious and savaged nature of our society -- and both of us, upon learning this for ourselves, immediately had given up such practices of brutality.
It is, odd, indeed, that we may differ as a pair from a great deal of society. Becoming Vegetarians at the first knowledge of this inhumane slaughter of animals, we were both glad that we had found this immutable truth. Another person from society had once commented on this, saying, "If I didn't know it was wrong to steal from people, I would have more joy in my exploits than a man who knew it was wrong, who may not enjoy it at all. So, how is it that you can be happy at discovering something that prevents you from pleasure?" To this, I remarked, "Besides the fact that I am sharing in the honor, the virtue, and the privilege, of being among the few to start a world wide revolution on behalf of all those who are oppressed -- besides the fact that I may be a faceless member in a crowd of individuals constantly, relentlessly working for those who may suffer as we do -- besides this one fact, the pleasure and pride of being a Vegetarian come from finding truth in a world obsessed with rhetoric and propaganda, finding one strand of cloth in the quilt of philosophy, discovering an understanding of all beings, when the world wars with itself with confusion." This person, looking somewhat impressed at my response, turned to my friend for an answer. He responded, "Why am I glad that I'm a Vegetarian? Because I'm not a fuckwitz."
Slowly, as we became good friends, the demeanor in which he portrayed himself to me became something foreign to how he answered his critics, or how he even answered strangers. Yet, it's not like that just with him. Every person has a natural barrier that they keep up between themselves and those they are not familiar with. Some people will not smile or laugh unless in the company of close friends, others will never give a genuine statement unless they are among familiar faces. This friend of mine, just another nameless man among a group of disenchanted reformers, was among those people whose emotions never left the inside unless with his mates. I had seen him debate, and the spectacle almost looked like a mass of uncivilized arguments, but among those people, I had not seen him laugh, or smile, or cry. But when we would sit side by side as friends, each eating a tomato and lettuce sandwich on toast, he would share with me his thoughts and feelings, things which he always had to hide. He is not the only one to engage in this habit, and it would be a rare find to discover a person who did not do the same. He was afraid, mostly, that if he said exactly what he felt on the inside, that someone could use it to hurt him. It is how we all feel: receptive to being honest about ourselves, because we are all scared to death of rejection. This may, indeed, be a way of understanding emotions, in particular anger. When this friend of mine spoke, and used every negative word in his own and the next man's dictionary, he spoke from inside a bubble, because afterwards, he would be able to sit down and have a drink, as these debates never reached him on the inside. And when he spoke to me, it was outside of this imaginary building, where he could smile and look at nature's beauty, without fear of criticism of any sort. I never told him what I saw here.
The day finally came, where the winds of change were at our backs, and my comrade had to take leave. We shook hands, and I told him, "It was good to get to know you, friend." And squeezed his palm back, saying, "And it was good to find one decent man among a bunch of redneck fucks." He left, and I saw him walking. Sitting on my piece of sidewalk, I watched him make every step. He never looked back.
This was but a few months ago. I believe, in all sincerity, that I am a greater man because of my encounter with this friend, and an even greater one still for becoming his ally. As these days pass, every effort transforming into strength added to the movement, every dream of my lovers and friends of past just another reason to stand up taller, stronger; as these moments pass like currents in the ocean, the meaning of my life has only be strengthened by those faces who come into and leave my life. The memories of happiness just become a collage of people who have influenced me. The first female to hold me close and confess her emotions, the first male to recite his poetry about civilization to me -- these men and women who have been obligated to move, to travel, to keep going in whatever direction that calls them. I find myself with friends, always in circulation, but always left with the times we had together, those experiences that strengthened our comradery, our courage. As we open up to each other, we know that the person we are loving today, may very well just be another a million miles from us tomorrow, in a crowd of strangers. My friends, traveling the globe, I wish I could be with you all at all times and at all places, but such a realization is both an ultimate heaven and an ultimate impossibility. Every wish for a perfected society comes with a desire to be among men and women of good humor, of charity, of decency, of good reason and generosity. Today, though, every action that I commit on behalf of some oppressed class, it is done with the pride of the individuals I have met, who are sacrificing themselves everyday for something that may not be realized except in centuries to come. Every moment dedicated to relaxing, is done ultimately, with the thought of them fighting, in my mind... And as I toss and turn, fighting the mad confusion of an adversary, I never let up, because I have not forgotten -- what I do today, is a whisper to a friend.