Tears are streaming down your face. You’re feeling that inborn loneliness that you wonder if you’ll ever be free of.

I lean my shoulder against the wall and watch you sob. You wonder aloud, without the slightest hint of drama, if the loneliness will kill you. My heart beats calmly but solidly. I watch you with a love that you don’t notice and that I fear you would misunderstand.

I pull a box of tulsi tea from my cupboard and show it to you. This is your tea. I made space in the cupboard for you. I know my home isn’t much—generic white walls made of cheap plaster; the smell of mildewy gym clothes and five dollar shower soap. But there is love here. And it is a place that understands loneliness.

I make your tea and we walk over to my sofa and sit down. You continue to cry. You say you can’t emote but you’ve been crying since you arrived. I get it: depressed, shutdown, lonely and numb—you were hungry for a witness.

You asked for my face—“a face” to be more precise. Here it is. And were you to look up you might notice that it is full of love and appreciation. It’s too painful to take in. I don’t have or want the power to make you drink. I’ll set the tea down whenever you’re thirsty. How much you drink will always be up to you.

It’s time for you to depart—I have plans with another friend. I thank you for reaching out and letting me share these precious moments. You smile and say you’re hungry. You look melancholy and relaxed. I sense that you will disappear for a while. I’ll put your tea back in the cupboard.

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