My Sodden Friends

I am a street cleaner. I walk along dirty streets and I find my sodden friend who is dirty and beaten to exhaustion, pain, and suffering. I kneel to my friend and hold his face endearingly so that he may trust me. I help him to his feet, I drape his arm around my shoulders, and I limp him along until he resembles a human being once again. The care and journey have been wonderful and full of so much seemingly true love.

It is then that I find I am no longer needed. My friend moves on, not turning to wave, not holding my hand, not even a hug. I wipe my tears quietly as I return to my thankless job. Am I a mother at heart? Do I ask for this job? Do I have "aid" written somewhere I cannot see? Is it my destiny that I carry this burden as Atlas would bear the heavens?

It is hard to explain what I mean to say. It is hard for me to explain what it is I feel I need to write. But I feel it. I feel as though I have particular friends that are so close to me that I love without doubt. Love of course varies. That is not the point. The fostering is the point. I foster my friends out of the rut they have fallen to. I foster my friends until they may stand on their own two feet. Just when it is that I see them happy and well, I have to watch them walk off, and away. They go, and I stand, not allowed to walk along, not wanted alongside. It only gets worse when my friends want to tell me about their new adventures, their new life, and their new friends. Do they know how it hurts? Do they care that it hurts? Do they not see my tears in plain sight? Or is it the tears that drive them further from me?

It is not fair to say, or seem, as though this applies to all friends, for that is not the case. I have my friends that return the favor; I have friends that know nothing of fostering; I have friends who are family. But I find that I fall in love with those who are my sodden friends. Perhaps it is the care I put into them. Perhaps it is our journey together that opens my heart to them.

Simply to say I fall in love is unfair. I have to let my heart out of its tightly closed box for this statement to apply. I love so many people, but yet only some have any real piece of my heart. It also seems that those who have their tiny fleshed rock that is part of me use it when they need a skipping stone, when they need a worry rock, when they need to impress another. It is rarely used to cradle and care for, I imagine it is rarely ever thought of as endearingly as the one who gave it to them!

It is unfair for my other friends who will probably never be given any ample piece of my heart. I will holdout, never loosening the grip on my heart box to the people who will care for it the best. Yet the sodden friends who will toss me aside, toss my heart aside, will earn the most from me. Why is this? Why do we always do this to ourselves? Why must we love those who hurt us?

And it is now, laying awake when I should be sleeping that I think about this. It is now that I want to cry for the street cleaner who will never change for the hopes that one day her sodden friend will choose to stay, wipe her tears for her. Even when there are hundreds around, it is a very lonely, thankless, and misunderstood job. It is a job I never want to live without even when it means continuing a life in pain.

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