Face of the Earth

I don't know why he doesn't notice me. For all he tried to appear unaware of what was going on around him, for all he tried to pretend he never understood - or knew - what was going on, I knew better. I knew how intelligent he was, I'd always known. I'd always known there was more going on in that brain than he'd ever let on. Why he hadn't let on, even with me, that I didn't know. Maybe I was the dense one- well, I knew I was. Had been. Never knew what was going on right in front of me.

To be fair it wasn't something I should have expected. And it *did* make it easier, being around him, being his friend... well maybe it made it harder to be his friend. I still don't know if he ever decided whether to call me a friend. Maybe he *is* dense.

It doesn't matter, now. Not in the same way. It does matter a great deal in a certain sense, now that I know, now that... well now that I'm here, like this. It would make me feel... better, even if only marginally, to know that he considered me a friend. He knows I was... am... was his friend. Not the same thing. Was he mine? I might not get the chance to ask him. I should have asked him, before. When I'd had a chance. Then again, I wouldn't have gotten a straight answer from him. Not then. Not the way things were between us. Not the way things were for him- with anybody.

I watch him, now. Sometimes I follow him, everywhere he goes, looking on as he goes through the motions of his life. Sometimes I stay back and barely stare at the world around me, ebbing and flowing... never really understood what that phrase meant, before. Never seen anything 'ebb' and 'flow'. Now the world does... it always did, I just never really saw it. Never took the time.

Anyway, I watch it, to see what will come into contact with his little segment of the world. And it *is* a little segment, believe me. No matter what he says, or thinks about it. I'm sure he thinks he is in touch with vast reaches of the world, its history. I'm sure he thinks he touches or has touched parts of the world beyond human comprehension. He's probably right, but compared to what's *really* out there, he's barely scratched the surface. The world is huge, and every tiny living moving creature in it, has a universe all its own. And he just never quite seems to realise it.

That's not really fair, is it. He *does* notice, he does care, I think... he just doesn't understand what it means. I'm not really sure- I know *I* don't understand this world. Even now, when I can see all of it. I wish I could talk to him about it. I wish I could take him into a quiet room- no, up onto a roof, where we can point it out... maybe off someplace, quiet, in the park? I don't know. I don't know why it's important, that I imagine us talking in the right setting. But it does, it seems very important. As if he wouldn't be able to say, really say what he feels, what he believes, unless the setting were right.

But I wish we could talk. I have so many things I want to ask him. So many things that I want to know, how he feels, what he thinks... things we never really talked about before. Things I didn't know to ask. The things he probably expected me to ask don't matter now. I already know. That's what happens, when you discover the world. You know things, and they just don't matter anymore.

I wish I could tell him things, too. Wonderous, amasing things I never dreamed of... but of course he couldn't hear me. He couldn't understand, wouldn't know why they were important. He's like that, he has his own view of the way things should be, and he tries to make his world match that picture. It's a nice picture, wouldn't mind living in a world like that. But I think the real world is much more interesting... now, anyway. Now it's absolutely astounding.

I do get tired, sometimes. Following him, looking at things only as they affect him. I wonder why I do it. There's somebody else I should be following, and I used to feel guilty that I didn't. Only looked in, when he went by- when their worlds intersected, briefly and nowadays, so rarely. But I'm here, following him, silently telling him what he should be noticing and what he should be telling her.

It makes me so frustrated, sometimes. I want to put words in his mouth and say what he ought to be saying. I tried, a few times, shouting at the tops of my lungs. But of course he didn't hear. I was too far away, I'm always too far away. Seems like forever I've been out of touch with him. And once, we were so close...

Now that's not exactly true. We were close, in that I could say something and he'd listen to me, he'd say something and I'd listen to him. We'd argue, sure, but at least we could *try* and communicate. But we hardly ever said anything important. Now that there are only the important things, now I know what I need to say, and I know how to hear what he's saying... now we can't even talk. I can't reach him...

I watched him sleep, yesterday. Stood there, watching him as he moved around, sleeping at first so quietly and so still, barely moving. Like laying in a coffin- sleeping like the dead. Isn't that a laugh. Then he began dreaming, I guess. I watched him, tossing and turning. Nothing like I'd expected, only a turn of the head or a slight movement of a hand. But he was moving - perhaps he was dreaming. I never thought to ask if he could dream. Now I wonder, and I have no way to find out. Why is it like that? Now that I know what to ask, I can't?

When he woke up he was... well, the same as always. I wanted to sit with him, over breakfast, even if we couldn't talk I wanted to sit and watch him, in a companionable silence. That's another phrase I never used before. I wish we'd had more of those, companionable silences. We have a lot of them now, only he doesn't know.

Sometimes I think it's going to hurt, being cut off like this. I wish I could go back to the way things were, confused and blind as it was, as least it was real. But this is real. It will be, for the rest of forever I guess. And it doesn't hurt, not really, being unable to reach him. Because in a strange way I have more of him now than I ever did.

I have to go now, he's waking up and I want to be there with him. He won't see me, but I'm going to try talking to him again. I expect he won't hear me. It doesn't matter, because I find more truth in what he says now. Now that he doesn't hide from me, now that he doesn't know he's talking to me. It's a better partnership than I'd ever expected from him. I wonder if every cop is followed around, by the ghost of his former partner? Maybe I should try looking... Nah. It doesn't matter.