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    (With love to V.R.)

    Thirty-one? Is it true you're sooner gone than ever! Did you think so? In many a ordeal with tearful dioptre Thou didst put the gauntlet down, but always with head held high, never giving up, Thou didst accept the challenge! What is the matter with you?! For so long have they been unable to reach you through the earth-embracing threads of the wide-contoured ether! Does it exist in the 21st century?

    There is no bargain nor common understanding in the world of Tomorrow: else any one shall crush and torment me! I wonder if all you ever heard was the sincere, truthful, true word: "We'll look for each other after university!" - Your hopeful words still echo in my head. "You'll see!" - I was forced to close my eyes and keep our shared memories shining with an unbroken halo beneath the surface: 

    I gave thee on all the more illustrious occasions, with everlasting good wishes - while thou knew'st all I knew'd where and when thou mightst o'er my way o'er reach, - and from thy surprising wit I have long since dropped out! I only know that long years of fate's trials were for nothing! 

    And when, like a frightened animal, Thou didst hope for my protection, For thou didst feel a thick pain in thy underbelly. When in hospital operating theatres you lay like a trophy tied between surgeons' butcher's knives, writhing in agony until your appendix was removed. 

    Leech-worm swollen from your intestines' anal canal - did I complain or resent once? Amongst many anxiety-pretending, tannish frusks, I have carried, out of goodness, juice, chocolate biscuits, merely to smuggle back thy mischievous smile to the corner of thy clogged mouth! 

    Why art thou not now by my side, as thou didst once promise? Could you at least, if your fate should so choose, send me a message? What bonds of friendship are so soon broken, so soon torn? And why do I cling to a chariot that will never take me, but will wipe me out and forget me?

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