Authentic Friend

I imagine the room is in a church basement. Worn wood, a coffee pot on a table, styrofoam cups, a rows of folding chairs.

Sparsely attended. I cannot see the faces of the other attendees. I know like mine, theirs will be worn, washed of something. Artifice. No room for that here.

I stand and tell them my story. All of it, unadorned, shocking. Only here, in this circle of (imaginary) truth it will not be held against me–my pushy honesty, my tenacious insistence on the whole story. Uncomfortable, impolite. I know. I got it.

Most places now I tell myself, shut up, you know now they don’t wanna hear this.

That is why I return to this picture in my head–a simple circle of truth, where every secret thing is revealed. So no one is shocked when the truth is what it is—

We all

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