The 1st of December 1993 – Utrecht, Netherlands

(found…To be honest these get boring to write unless there’s some connection with the larger text or some foreshadowing to be done. Usually these words are random and meaningless, but that doesn’t stop the world from turning, okay? Wait…don’t leave. Here come words that aren’t italicized…)

My Good Friend Mehmet,

It was a while ago when you asked me the question, so I will not blame you for forgetting that you ever even asked it. But – understandably or no, expectedly or no – the question has hardly left my mind, even though the circumstances are long gone and should be themselves forgotten.

It was patience, Mehmet, demonstrated subtly and in the smallest ways.

I know that you will be reluctant to accept this comparison and that you will – probably with simple politeness dominating your reasons – refuse it completely. But, Mehmet, I am very much like a dog, a dog in training.

(In fact, after coming up with this analogy, I realized that it could easily have been made to involve a young toddler instead of a dog. But, listen, I prefer it with the dog somehow.)

But you’ve seen these dogs, Mehmet, these dogs from the shelters downtown, where they take in mutts from the street and hand them off to suburban families with children and barbeques and lawns to mow. I’m sure that you have. These kooky dogs that wag their tails awkwardly and shy away when the neighbors come into the yard or that bark when you hand them a treat and, in fact, seem to hate you for it. They’re weird dogs, Mehmet, just a little off.

And these dogs can be punished – they call it disciplined, they call it taught – with a boxing around the ears by a rolled-up newspaper or some harsh squirts from a bottle of cold water, and so they become skittish and shy and nervous at all hours of the day and night.

But, Mehmet, there are some people who have some special talent. It’s these who can get even the damnedest of lost souls to calm down and relax and jump onto the couch and snore as if they belonged there for their whole, entire life.

They have a naiveté, these special ones, an innocence and a patience to forgive the kookiness, let it slide by and assimilate it into the normality that we all believe should surround us.

That’s what it was, Mehmet. Patience.

Regards,

Hugh

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