Xeno Hemlock


My Invisible Friend

He has always been there for me but I was too pre-occupied with other matters so I ignored him. Perhaps I was really just an insolent fool. Either way, I was dumb to have neglected him. After everything he has given me, he deserves more acknowledgment I ever gave him.

My two little legs wobbled when the dawn of exploration arrived. Everybody was all eyes on me, cheering for me with words I didn't understand. I learned to hop, jump, skip and run. I even learned to climb trees. When I did all those, nobody was rooting for me anymore. Stupid me believed I was finally invincible. Young me walked over a grease on the sidewalk and publicly humiliated myself as I slipped not once, not twice but thrice in broad daylight. An approaching truck scared me so I stopped pedaling my bike. Forgotten to support my halt I lost my balance and fell on a gang of rocks who took glee in slicing the side of my knee. Red streamed down and flesh revealed itself to the world. A scar continues to remind me of that bloody incident. After days of rehearsal, we won first prize on a silly contest on dancing and singing about the importance of books. The reward was not something to boast about but it was the pride we hoped for. My two legs together with my wit wowed the judges. Yet these two legs plague me for the rest of my life with their restless itching and cramping that hinders me from loving the treadmill. Through ups and downs (literally) my friend was there. In every pain and triumph, he never left.

My heart got broken for the first time and I thought my world had come to an end. I ran away to forget but my naive myself would not escape the haunting. Everywhere I went, every little thing related, and every breath I took I was reminded. The world was big but I felt confined in such a small place. I foolishly only saw the tunnel and not the light. My friend, he held my hand all along. Wherever I went, he was there too. He watched in silence as I cried every night and put on a brave face in the morning. In my darkest thoughts, I thought of permanently leaving. He whispered to me that things would get better. I didn't hear it but now I know it. All these years, when no one else heeded he was there.

Expected to be an expert yet inexperienced like a rookie, some things served on our plate were just too demanding. Me and my colleagues had to juggle earning our pay and degree. A sleepless night and a desk full of junk food, it perplexed me how I was able to put logic on that noisy keyboard. Lines of code that made sense but wouldn't, they made me doubt my own capability. He could've laughed at me and ranted that my inefficiency brought me there in the first place but he didn't. Instead, with the little he could give he pushed me and my colleagues to think harder. We could sleep later when we're done. When we're finally claiming shuteye, he was still there. We slept but he didn't.

When I decided to be a lazy bum right after graduating from college, my friend willingly indulged me. When I pondered leaving an employer with the consequence of being blacklisted, my friend hurried me. When I had to teach Computer Science courses and I was an InfoTech graduate, my friend managed them with me. When I forgave filth and they continued to disgust me, my friend helped me see 20/20 . When my grandfather died, my friend mourned with me. When I woke up to my life's purpose, my friend supported me. Whenever I wrote by myself in the middle of the night, my friend kept me company.

This friend of mine has given a lot but never asked for anything back. Truth be told, I feel so indebted I must repay him. Shall I treat him to dinner? Or buy him an Xbox One when I don't have one myself (and I want one)? I guess I can invite him to watch Robocop with me this weekend. How about I give him a puppy? My only female dog will soon be pregnant again. I can invite him to the gym and work out with me but membership is quite expensive. What about this? I write an entire book about him, Time: The Authorized Biography by Xeno Hemlock. It sounds good to me but I know he will refuse it. I will write anyway. When will I finish it? Only he can tell.

Cover image: Aviva Stadium HDR time lapse by Miguel Mendez