A memory from a dream,
I thought I caught your smile.
Seen from afar, farther than a mile,
A strange, glinting gleam.
The sun sank behind you, an extinguished fire.
An illusion from my fantasy,
I thought I caught your bluff.
It was close, near enough.
A peculiar, uneasy heresy.
The stars rose above us, with an unexpected desire.
"Sam, you wrote this?" I was thoroughly at a loss for words. He nodded, a sheepish smile playing on his lips. "I-- Sam, this is beautiful. You're such a liar! You're not a terrible writer."
"Yeah, well this is the only thing you've read yet."
"So, you're gonna let me read more?"
"I never said that."
"But, you said 'yet'. That implies that you'll be letting me read more. Oh, please, Sam! You've seen every single one of my paintings. It's only fair," I tried.
"Not right now. And hasn't anyone ever told you life isn't fair?"
"Yeah, life. But friendship is totally fair. That's why it's called friendship. Duh."
We laughed, and after a while I asked him what that poem was called.
"It doesn't have name yet." He replied thoughtfully.
"How about Near Enough or Uneasy Heresy. The latter would be my choice, but that's just me."
"Okay. Whatever you want." He shrugged.
There was a silence, and for the first time, I wasn't sure what to say to him next. I became uneasy as the silence deepened and expanded behind the enemy lines of awkwardness. It began to weigh on me, and I fidgeted uncomfortably, groping for something to talk about. I couldn't take much more of it, and finally I broke.
"So..." I said lamely.
"So..." He mirrored.
"Tell me more about your family." He looked up at me. In his eyes, I saw his wonder at why I could possibly want to know more about that of all things.
"Well," and he continued to tell me about his many cousins, and his aunt Sarah and his Uncle Charlie. He told me about his half brother and half sister and what they did during the summers when he came back to Michigan. He only told me about his mom's side of the family.
His dad used to have a brother, but he committed suicide ten years ago after he lost his wife in a car accident, and he had no grand-parents to speak of. I suddenly felt sorry for Alex, and got the impression that he must be very lonely sometimes.
I listened eagerly to the tales of Sam's childhood growing up in the spacious countryside in Michigan.
"You're really lucky, Sam. To have such a wonderful childhood with such a closely-knit family. To be honest, I really envy that." I sighed, thinking back to my own noisy and crowded childhood here in the city.
"I've only been out of Manhattan once or twice in my whole life. Once to go to my grandparent's funeral in Albany, and another time to vacation in Florida for a week. It's kind of sad. I don't even remember much of either trips; I was younger than seven for both of them."
And I told him more about my own family. He already knew my parents were divorced, and aside from my parents, I didn't have much other family. My dad had one brother who was the younger, but he moved to Europe to study abroad, and they weren't very close. And their parents were dead. On my mother's side, she was an only child, and her father died a long time ago before I was born in one of the wars--I didn't remember which. And her mother, as I'd previously explained, had died sometime before my fifth birthday.
However, my Uncle Adam sometimes came back to the states to visit me. Though he wasn't very close to my father, he adored me and brought me gifts from all over the world sometimes. He was very wealthy and successful, and he got along well with my mom-- dad sometimes said a little too well, and then they would fight more. As a result, I haven't seen Uncle Adam since I was ten.
"When I was younger, I used to want to travel with Uncle Adam and go on all these crazy adventures with him. To travel to Paris and Berlin, to Rome and Egypt..." I sighed, remembering very clearly my excitement whenever my uncle told me all his stories about the world.
"Why does he travel so much?" Sam asked.
"He's 'studying abroad', but that ended some time ago, and now he's an archaeologist and he travels for his work. I always thought that'd be a lot of fun; I do really enjoy history, and what could be so wrong with travelling all over the world and getting paid to do so? But my dad usually discouraged me from those options whenever I voiced my desires. He didn't want me to be like his brother. I don't know why they don't get along. Every time I tried to ask, he looked at me hard and said 'You'll understand when you're older.' I never have understood it though."
We went out to the kitchen, where Alex was just putting down his newspaper. He looked up at us and smiled, and suggested we might play a card game. For several hours, we played BS, and the rest of the night was filled with many laughs.