Their friendship served very little purpose past the one of keeping each other company.
It was a friendship based solely out of necessity – not love, nor any common ground – but simply a mutual understanding of one another’s circumstances.
They each had something the other needed – not wanted. It was theirs to give if they so desired; both expecting nothing less in return.
It was shortly after their brief, untoward meeting that the conditions of their friendship fell into place – on the precise moment the facts were presented to the other, the appeal of a mutually beneficial promise of exchange was understood.
They were certainly not seeking love. It was not money they wanted, nor was it fame, nor any other common vice. In fact, they did not particularly enjoy each other’s company – they were both much too concerned with the external world to ever fathom being present in their surroundings.
They often found themselves struggling to maintain the trajectory of their conversations. In fact, in those seconds, when they felt it dwindling to nonexistence, each one would scramble to devise ideas for further dialogue with such rigor, that they did not think to pay attention to what was being said in that moment, and thus, had no appropriate responses.
They knew it to be true that this was a necessary part of this friendship – the inevitable act of spending some time alone – but neither could manage the idea, let alone the act itself, without the immediate appetite for drink of bourbon.
They would strain their minds to break the uncomfortable feelings entangled in those silences, which only further strained their bodies so, to an extent they could not afford.
And even when they would lock eyes, more firm was the feeling of hatred than all the others combined.
Yet, they continued down this road, and persisted in their collective understanding with their feet planted firmly to the earth – the only thing which was grounding their heads to this existence.
In all these years, as they kept one another in adequate company, neither one told their tales which led them down the same, conclusively tragic paths – nor did either one ask – for they both conceded that the pain was not one they could undo with time, but that it had to be felt at all times, nonetheless.
And so, in their first meeting, they made this initial promise of a final exchange: On the night before their freedom, they would give one another the gift of the clothes off their backs, which is to be tied, and wrapped around their necks.
Then, on the count of three – and in concert – both kicking the chairs from underneath them.
They would each give one another the thing they had always, not wanted, but needed: an escape from the damnation which fueled the decades since their wives’ passing in the same, tragic hellfire.
They did not know where it would lead, or how, or whether the suffering would end. But they knew as much to hold a firm belief that either their reunification, or any cruel form of torture, had no chance at measuring up as less than their lives in those unending, lonely moments.
This final day of their friendship would be marked by the nightly guard, making his rounds on an otherwise ordinary shift, to find two frail bodies of old neighbors and friends, hanging from their common prison bars.
In that moment, the friendship served its intended purpose, indeed.
*Any writing, ideas and art (or images thereof) you find in this post or on the site were created by Ahka Rhash ©