The clock strikes midnight, and although no bells now echo with Westminster chimes, I don’t need them to let me feel the lateness of the hour. The tiredness of being beyond my routine weighs me down, though I do have the compensation of not being required to play squash and I already anticipate sleeping just a little while longer. It suffices as consolation, as does the reason I wait.
I’m awake at the ringing in of the witching hour because I made a promise to a friend that I would be online on skype to pick up our conversation where it was interrupted. I’ve had good occasion to understand the value of frank conversation and how wonderful an experience it can be. Being naturally careful and cautious in my friendships, it takes exceptional trust and faith in the other person on my part to talk openly.
I admire, can only admire not imitate, the likes of James and Gareth who talk so openly and frankly even to total strangers, and I see the beautiful benefits that their frankness brings them: people respond to them in the most amazing ways – and in hindsight I realize that I responded to them for the same reasons. It was their patience and perseverance through my initial defensiveness that found friendship’s rich pastures on the other side. Other friendships of mine have followed similar patterns, and I can only admire the certainty of my friends in persevering where I would have given up.
I recently drew up for a list of those I felt like I could talk frankly too, and the list was surprising and revealing- I hadn’t put the thought into that topic in a long time. I don’t intend to reproduce that list here, to do so would be to reveal too much of my secrets to my reader, and my timid defensiveness is reasserting itself . Interestingly enough, if you want to know you can always ask the question, but the only way you’ll get the same response is if you’re on the list as well. A bit of a Catch-22.
I want to talk about these people collectively. About the magic inherent in merely talking to them.
Conversation is refreshing in a way conversation with others isn’t. I don’t feel boundaries, I don’t feel limits. I don’t feel any pressure to conform, no pressure to censor the inappropriate parts of me. I don’t need to come up with topics. I don’t need to drive the conversation. Part of the charm is the loving mockery that I pointed out not so long ago, but only as an aspect, an aside. The conversation can span such territory; can go from the sublime to the heights of philosophy and theory to the depths of the worst humour that would never be repeatable in even the least polite society and then ascend to be silly and ridiculous – sublime again in its own way.
But that is the shell, the orange peel, the bark of the experience. The real feeling, that strong feeling that endures, that triumphs, and whose recollection will keep you alive in many dark nights and days, just by its recollection, is that feeling of connection. I lose the feeling of being alone. I can’t stress how amazing that is.
Perhaps you think I exaggerate, so I will expand with a simple example. I will use Hunaid, because our bond is well known. There are many days that I draw strength from the knowledge, just the simple knowledge, that Hunaid is out there. I don’t have to talk to him, I don’t need to see him, just the knowledge that on this world, he’s there too, has become a support. That is a bond I can feel, that I can depend on, that I do depend on, thorugh just the strength of friendship and franknes that binds us together. This is just one example from one of the people.
I want to expand this, to justify, to explain. To plead my insanity through its full course as if words would suffice to transcode what I want to say into something sensible. I understand now that they won’t suffice. All I count on then is that you, my estranged reader, understand. That you feel what I feel or have, at least once, felt. If you do, I am explained.