What is a friend?
What is a friend? I will tell you.
It is a person with whom you dare to be yourself. Your soul can be naked with her. She seems to ask of you to put on nothing, only to be what you are. She does not want you to be better or worse.
When you are with her you feel as a prisoner feels who has been declared innocent. You do not have to be on your guard. You can say what you think, so long as it is genuinely you. She understands those contradictions in your nature that lead others to misjudge you. With her you breathe freely.
You can avow your little vanities and envies and hates and vicious sparks, your meannesses and absurdities and, in opening them up to her, they are lost, dissolved on the white ocean of her loyalty. She understands.
You do not have to be careful. You can abuse her, neglect her, tolerate her. Best of all, you can keep still with her. It makes no matter. She likes you - she is like the fire that purges to the bone. She understands, she understands.
You can weep with her, sin with her, laugh with her, pray with her. Through it all - and underneath - she sees, knows, and loves you. A friend?
What is a friend? Just one, I repeat, with whom you dare to be yourself.
Adapted from the poem by C Raymand Beran
(The friend is male in the original. For this version
the gender has been changed to female).