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Oh dear, I woke up this morning feeling all depressed. Don’t ask me why, feelings don’t need a reason. Sometimes I just wake up and the world is not as I want it to be or I am not who I want me to be. When I’m like that, I’m like a black hole in space, not fun to be around.

Fortunately, though, I have a very good friend who knows me like the back of his own hand. He’s been putting up with my ups and downs for years and doesn’t take them at all seriously.

So, we’re sitting side-by-side at a desk, me typing on a Toshiba laptop, he on a Pentium II. I’m not being very communicative, of course, because I am pre-occupied with my hormonal fluctuations and self-loathing. He is typing away, and I note, with sidelong glances, that he is writing email to various people and it’s all quite brilliant. I on the other hand, am staring despondently at an empty Word file because I keep deleting everything I type. I’ve got myself quite thoroughly convinced that there is nothing I could say to anyone that would mean anything.

He knows all of this, but he doesn’t say a word, just puts a Louis Armstrong disk in his CD Rom and goes back to the email he is working on. And I continue to stare disconsolately at my empty window.

After about ten minutes, he looks at me and says, “What?”

I hate that question, so I say, “I don’t know.”

He just sits looking at me. His expression is personal, but not personal. Old, but not old. Young, but not young.

So of course I burst into tears.

And of course he starts to laugh.

He says, “What?”

I say, “I don’t know.”

He says, “Well, then, don’t be convinced by that.”

So there we are, looking at each other, listening to jazz. Louis Armstrong laments, “I lost my one and only” and my friend says, “I love jazz. It’s so humorous – life is all screwed up, I feel terrible, it’s four o’clock in the morning, my wife isn’t talking to me, I don’t want to go home, so I am just going to sit here and jam….We’re all gonna die! Weeee’re aaall gonnaaaa diiiiieeeeeeee!” He dances in his chair and grins.

I look at my friend and he looks at me, and I watch the feeling of compression in the middle of my chest simply pass through itself and dissolve.

I smile at him and say, “Thank you.”

He smiles and says, “Don’t worry.” It’s what he always says.

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