The leper

I take a photo from the box.

It’s a bad choice… it’s that little boy again.

No front teeth and that silly smirk with the ill-fitting clothes he thought so cool.

It’s me, a long time ago, once upon a time…once upon an embarrassing time.

I’ve grown up now and moved on and thank God for that!

But how shaming all the same, a rather pathetic figure, enthroned at the centre of his own little universe.

And really quite ugly. I feel the heat and the sweat of shame.

So, I put the leper back in the box.

Quickly now. I don’t wish to look. I wish to look away.

I bury the leper beneath a hundred other faded prints.

Move on, move on…leave the leper behind.

Though until I can befriend the leper, and hug him to heaven and back –

I can befriend no one on this earth.