Bestie

Though you’re passing me by
Without a sign of recognition,
Despite the loss of its smile,
Your once sanguine face,
Now wan and weary,
And peppered with bristles,
Can hardly escape mine.
I see no ring nor female company—
It must be the hair, my friend.
How can you let your signature clip
Run down like an untended rug
And collect so much salt and dust?
I almost take that mullet
For a wig too ill-fitted
To yours old, familiar face.

Do you still remember our hideout,
Backstage to the school hall,
Where we used to exchange
Crackers, crisps and candies,
And fealty to each other?
And how on the hopscotch boxes
We traded deadly kicks and knuckles
As sagely kung fu masters?
We were our year’s Wright brothers—
The courageous duo that piloted
Countless betas of paper planes.
And don’t you forget how,
With ball-pen rockets and rubber bombs,
Our pencil-box spaceships had conquered
Galaxies of alien planets.

But … today is today.
Just walk on by.
Don’t bother to ask me why—
If it’s my lack of audacity
To intrude your grown-up life,
Or my miserly want to alchemise
Our shared memories in golden past.
Please forgive me, my friend,
For not saying “hi”.

 

Colin Lee

colin-lee-small

 

Photo Courtesy: alphacoders.com
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29 thoughts on “Bestie

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  1. It’s the crack of dawn here and I should probably not start my day by reading poetry and crying, but oh, well. This is hard stuff, when besties become like strangers but you deal with it with humor, wistfulness, and acceptance. I love all the descriptions of the games you would play and the last line that shows that you also do not acknowledge him. Beautiful stuff, Colin.

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    1. Thanks, nosaint. I couldn’t blame him: 20-something years has rendered my own physical transformation beyond recognisable, let alone having doubled in height and trippled in weight. I was catching a bus with my family as he passed by, and I hesitated over what to say. Before long, he was gone. My wife suggested me to go after him, but I felt that a bit awkward and declined. (Maybe I was just hopelessly shy.) Oh, well, sorry to have troubled your early-morning peace. (No, I’m not. Lol!) Have a fabulous day ahead, my friend. 😉

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  2. Love the contrasts and transformations; sanguine to wan and weary, the energy of youth with the ‘don’t bother’ of today. There is a universiality in this moment, my friend. Thank you for sharing it. Excellent writing, as ever!

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    1. Thanks, Charley! You’re much too faithful that I should consider myself an evil WP cheater. Anyhow, I’m taking a creative break this week (National Day plus Mid-Autumn) — plenty of family duties. I’m replying you with Christy napping on my chest right now. Shh … 😉

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      1. As long as you are an “evil WP cheater.” Those righteous WP cheaters are truly the ones to eschew. I always fell asleep holding my son. Contagious napping. Enjoy it!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Well then, by Heaven’s grace, I’m a sinner — rightly so. Lol

        Contagious indeed. There’s something, I find, however, utterly different in holding a baby girl. A Chinese saying has it that a daughter was her father’s lover in their former lives. (But, no, don’t ponder too wickedly deep along that line! We are a morally innocent bunch.) You’re right. I’m enjoying every feeding, nappy change and bathing whenever I’m at home; that’s why you don’t see me around a lot lately. (Sorry, my friend!)

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  3. I think this happens to all of us – I know I’ve lost a coupe of besties along the way, Colin. Did this really happen or are you imagining what would happen if you encountered your friend again? I love the nostalgia in the lines:
    ‘Do you still remember our hideout,
    Backstage to the school hall,
    Where we used to exchange
    Crackers, crisps and candies,
    And fealty to each other?’
    and
    ‘We were our year’s Wright brothers—
    The courageous duo that piloted
    Countless betas of paper planes’.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Kim. Every bit of this story was real. We were near-doppelgangers when we were six and often got mistaken by teachers. Eventually we lost touch from each other by about 15. I bumped into him two weeks ago, quite certain it was him. I myself am very much unrecognisable, and so unsurprisingly he passed me by, while I was busy getting on a bus with my own handful of small children. Maybe it’s for the best that way. I don’t know. Hm.

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  4. oh no, I for one hope you can reconnect. I have a childhood friend who I was intensely close to. We’ve drifted apart (geographically and friendship-wise) but we still keep in touch occasionally and it makes me so glad. I have to write poems about her, she IS my childhood in many respects.

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    1. Wow, Claire, your friends are very blessed to have you. I agree with you that our childhood friends are part of our growth that shaped us as who we are today — priceless experience that shouldn’t be let go too easily. Having said that, I’m still in touch with a few friends who I’ve known for two or three decades, particular those who share a similar season in life, you know, married, with kids, etc. 🙂

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