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My Special Friend

Douglas Harding

Mother and I are looking out of the oval window at the children playing.

“What are their names?” I ask.

“That’s Johnny, the one with the black hair. The one with her back to us is Mary Anne. The other one is You Darling.”

That’s a funny name. Why does he keep staring? Why doesn’t he play outside the other windows sometimes?”

“Because he is You Darling.”

“Does having that name make him stare at me? I think it’s because he’s my special friend.”

The years pass. Johnny and Mary Anne have gone.
But my friend is always there outside the oval window,
Like a good yard dog who knows he isn’t allowed indoors.
Sometimes he’s full of fun, sometimes miserable
But he never takes his eyes off me.

Now he’s growing old and grey and slow, and often sad looking.
I think he’s begging to be let in.
I think that if I let him in he would be all over me, smothering me.
He might even kill me, kill me with kindness.
And because he loves me so much, when he dies he wants me to go with him.

If I let my friend in he will be my enemy.

I will not let him in.
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