The History of an Engagement with φιλια (cont.)

Chapter V. Another Awakening

When I woke up the morning after the red night. First seeing Hector and Aeneas, I could not speak. Second seeing Poseidon and Diomedes, feeling myself cracking a smile and leaving. When I turned to see her standing at my doorstep–the end. The fissures gave way to the breaking and there I stood in the midst of the crowd with water and salt on my face–my hands holding on to her spine, in her horsehair as if to keep me from falling farther into the dark. With a toss of her mane, she carried me away, prayed, opened her cabin door to a roaring fire, for me, that I might find refuge from the winter. That my blood might begin to thaw. Winter–it will not steal your substance, she said. And for what are beds made but to give friends a place to lay down their heads? A smile as strong as her lion heart. And you are not alone in this, she said. As brothers we will stand and we’ll hold your hand…*

*Mumford & Sons, “Timshel”


The History of an Engagement with φιλια (cont.)

iii. A Second Interlude

Sod this, I said. Sherlock, the machine–Mrs. Hudson had just been shot, why is he so unmanageably bloody frustrating, of course he’s always like this, except he’s more like this than he usually is, which is–wrong. Something’s wrong, and I can’t–I just have to go, he won’t let me in, I just can’t–You stay here, if you want, on your own, I said, turning to leave. Placidly he replies, Alone is what I have, without looking up. Alone protects me. I stared back at him. No. Friends protect people.*

*Stephen Thompson, “The Reichenbach Fall,” Sherlock


The History of an Engagement with φιλια (cont.)

Chapter IV. (cont.)

I think I saw you in my sleep, darling. I think I saw you in my dreams,* Green Girl. You were with Rosary and I felt touch. A return to our gentler years. Green Girl, I was looking into your eyes for the first time since the season passed. Since our apocalypse. Since the time when love was not enough.** When dimly. When trumpets. When convictions, followed by the escalation of rage: flashes of red, the screaming, the running out the door. The change leftover from childhood now utterly spent, the fabric of the walls ripped to shreds with those screams. Eyes watering, might I go blind. Might I be blind. Your pills and your booze a tornado in my head. Our conversation, a tsunami. First comrades in holy war, now rivals in bitter jihad. I screamed Medic! My friend is dying is she dead or am I dead. Those walls were painted in green blood. Oppression over a bag of pistachios snapped my grace that cried to keep giving us time. When they pulled me out–when it was over, I kept wondering how many voices did you have. Which of them were speaking to me in our first year. Which of them were speaking to me on your bunk bed wet with tears. Which of them were speaking to me in finality on that red night. My dear comrade, we were fallen. Pink paint splattered on our faces, but our wings so sore and torn. Two girls coughing to keep our heads above the crowd, trying to offer my arm for your hands. How desperately could I try to sling your nightmares on my back. Riptide, I watched the way your eyes dissociated. Then the inevitable attack, grab, pulling under of the attempted rescuer. But I am born, and my own fear of drowning gasped for me to untangle. When they let the line down, I grabbed it, best as cold hands could, choking. Did not look back, feared I would turn into my own pillar, rigor. Yet the memories are before me, like the flowers you gave me after he disappeared. My thought that you were in my life, for life, now upside down and withering. Yet wondering is still before me, where did I leave you, could you keep your head above water. So when I say I saw you in my sleep, believe it, darling. And when I say you were in my dreams, believe it, Green Girl.

*La Dispute, “Such Small Hands”
**Giver:, “C.O.C.”

The History of an Engagement with φιλια (cont.)

Chapter IV. (cont.)

Declaration: My friends are gone, my friends have left me. For better things and for better families. I’m filled with hate and scared of grace. You’ll never take what I create…My friends are dead.* Or am I dead. When I looked up, the roof over my head was no longer gold. Its structure as a stronghold, a memory. I looked up and could see the holes, neglected, the weathered damage caving to the snow and rain. My house leaking over my head and so are my friends dead or am I dead. This coffin punched with holes as I lay dying. Dissociated from my reflection in the mirror. Dissociated without my associations. Where are my associations. I stare in the mirror with no associations and so dissociate. So are my friends dead or am I dead. When would I wake up and know who was dead.


*Giver:, “12”

A History of an Engagement with φιλια (cont.)

Chapter IV. When Love was not Enough

Because my Cancer: when entering rooms, familiar paths to familiar faces–how I saw them looking over my head.‘Cause I’ve got friends in all the right places, I know what they want, and I know they don’t want me to stay.* This carved out my shell. My voice not audible, I dared not speak; my hands I couldn’t see. Estrangement, embodied. This carved out my shell. So sick for the sound of singing. When I need you, I need it quickly. And I needed it quickly; but I knew–knew you didn’t want me to stay, as I longed to write Love all over your walls. Diomedes and Achilles to name a few. Always asking: could I look into your bright eyes and know I was born, worth the ground you walked on. Always asking: could I hold your head in my hands and laugh with sweet unanimity. My Cancer, thinking I needed you so quickly. I’ve got friends in all the right places, I know what they want, and I know they don’t want me to stay. When you would look over my head and I couldn’t see your hands so I would just turn inside and walk away. In fact, you’ll never know…when I need you, I need it quickly–


*Manchester Orchestra, “I’ve Got Friends”