From Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul on Love & Friendship

My Friend and I Are Different

My friend is a man with three grandchildren.

Two generations separate us.

He tells me stories about his youth

And I listen.

My friend is a lesbian and she smiles into the sun.

We both see beauty in others but in different ways.

Sometimes she cries, but so do I.

Usually we laugh together and drink coffee.

My friend cannot speak English.

He is from a world far away

Where he learned to paint with berries

And play instruments made of animal skin.

We were born on the same day,

And ask each other questions with our hands.

My friend is a Catholic.

We talk about the one God we all share,

Every religion dancing under the same sun,

Same God.

I tell her that I am Jewish because of my father,

And Christian because of my mother.

I tell her that I feel proud,

And am glad.

My friend lives in darkness, for she is blind.

She can see with her ears and her nose.

She can sense when I am sad,

She can smell my tears in the air.

I tell her how beautiful she is and she nods, taking my face

    in her hand.

“And you are beautiful, too.”

My friend is homeless.

He lives on the beach and plays the guitar.

I ask him questions and he answers me.

He doesn’t ask for money,

He just wants to hear game scores.

Every day he tells me to follow my dreams.

My friend is three feet tall.

She asks me if she is normal.

“No,” I say. “Wouldn’t that be sad?”

She nods and laughs.

“It would be sad,” she says,

“. . . to be normal.”

My friend looks just like me.

She has green eyes and blonde hair

And we have the same ideas and experiences.

And when I turn my back to the mirror,

Everyone looks a little bit different.

Zoe Graye

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