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An Echo haunted flower grows more curious by the hour.                                                                                                                            

Twice as lucky
Five times strong
Here two seconds
The next one, gone

When I was very young other kids were mean. Not all of them, but it was bad enough. Everything is bigger when you're a child, but I never really would've felt small if not for them. I was scared. God knows what I could have been scared of now. But as a kid it must have felt like the sky was falling. Before recess one day, I created a poem in my head about somebody who could help, a Hero (I like to think I've always had a way with words, but I'm biased of course). As the bullies approached me I recited this poem for the first time out loud, and suddenly they were all running away from me. I wondered if my newfound confidence had stunned them, then I turned around and saw My Hero. My Hero wrapped me in a hug and took me away from my tormentors. I laughed as I was whisked away from them. When you're a kid, these things don't tend to scare you. You just think that's how the world works.

Twice as helpful
Five times high
Twice as loving
Once as shy

My Hero's lair looked quite nice; it felt homey, like somebody's grandmother lived there. I spent many recesses there and we played until I had to go back to class. The others were frightened by My Hero. I could hardly see why. My Hero never did anything but ask about itself, a positive narcissist. My Hero was constantly concerned with what others thought and was appreciative for any description anybody said or wrote, delighting in the most redundant of descriptions and the most delightful or fearful of written notes. My Hero soon became My Friend. We spoke in a language that could have only been my native one but was somehow more than that. We spoke as if without words, interacted without a need for meaning. Saying goodbye made us both very sad, but I knew I only need to call out to meet again.

Twice as hopeful
Five times glad
Twice as wand'ring
Once as sad

We both had problems. We didn't like talking about that. We would rather share the joyful moments in both our lives, like being able to talk to each other. I never knew what My Friend did when I was gone. Perhaps I should have. When we were away, my life might as well have repeated every day. Even if it became redundant, I enjoyed learning in school. I loved learning things that were true and things that weren't. I especially liked fiction and mythology. All I wanted was to be smarter. I figured that the older you got, the more you should know. Looking back, I can see how wrong I was. You're much more certain when you're younger. I was smarter as a child than I ever have been as an adult.

Twice forgotten
Five times left
Twice as lonely
Once bereft

Soon, though, nobody would acknowledge My Friend. My parents would tell me that my imaginary friend wasn't real. They would gasp in horror at my "dark" pictures depicting our many happy moments. They all thought I was strange. I supposed I was, but I couldn't let on that I agreed. I stopped calling My Friend. Then one day I read a story that I thought helped me understand (though I now see it only led to more confusion). The story was of a nymph whose only crime was repeating words, and a man whose vanity consumed him. I thought myself Echo while My Friend was Narcissus. All of our discussions were me repeating what I saw and what I knew. With a thought like this and a jury of my peers in denial, I soon became bitter and denied My Friend's existence.

I stopped looking for the strange and supernatural; it began finding me anyway. I rejected it at first, but I couldn't deny my fascination. When most would be frightened, I remained merely curious. There were others like me. An entire Foundation. They made an offer I couldn't refuse, and with their help, I didn't just see more of the abnormal. I learned to understand it, interact with it, and, eventually, contain it.

I haven't thought about most of this in a long time.

But I'm certain of one thing. As an adult, the more I learn, the more I don't know. I know there are some things I could never begin to understand, I know there are things nobody ever will understand, I know there are things nobody should have to understand. Every new answer brings more questions. Working at a Foundation like this one only proves how little we know. But I'm becoming more certain of things that I was aware of as a child. I know now that My Friend was not imaginary, not any more than I am. And I do know things now that I didn't before. I know why the others thought me strange. I know that this emptiness I've felt since childhood was guilt of abandoning My Friend. And I know that the Foundation, if they found out, would do all in their power to contain My Friend.

Echo loved Narcissus
But he left her all alone
She vanished as the river bed
Became Narcissus' home

I know that Narcissus treated Echo too harshly. But I still wonder why Narcissus rejected Echo. Did he dislike her? What had she ever done to him but love him? Why did I reject My Friend? Perhaps, if we had been less proud, Narcissus might have loved Echo and I might have still seen My Friend. But what might have been and what is are two different things. For now, Narcissus is only a flower, and Echo is merely a second voice when you're alone. I wanted to rewrite the ending, prevent my heart from breaking. I guess I never understood the point of the myth anyway. How much damage did I cause because of this? Will My Friend forgive me? I guess I'll find out soon. It only takes a stroke of the pen, or even just a whisper.

In case I don't come back this time, I'll leave one suggestion for the documentation.

Twice as joyful
Five times dear
Gone two long
Then once more here

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