I do not presume that I can supersede that admirable and even noble action of treading lightly around a spider, as the “milk of human kindness” does not run more fully through my veins than it did through those of one particular writer of considerable repute a little less than two hundred years ago . In fact, it is all together possible, guaranteed even, that I will still shudder the same as he at the recollection of having seen it before aiding it in its escape, as much as I would after encountering, and then retreating myself from, the ghost of friendship.
The ghost of friendship is still feared by me as much as the venom found in a spider. It may not be lethal in the grand majority of cases, but then again, I would rather avoid a painful sting and then a lingering sense of pain that lasts for days. For, unfortunately, the metaphorical milk of human kindness that runs through my veins is unable to heal in its entirety, and in an immediate frame of time, the glowing bodily display of a spider bite, nor is it able to abate the violent mental anguish caused by the crushing weight of the ghost of friendship.
This most pestering of airy forms seems to become clearer and increasingly harrowing the more one tries to rid the air of it. Its stench becomes more and more unbearable the more one tries to come to terms with its presence. And, soon enough, it is festering on a corner to such a degree that if one does not take immediate action, one may very well end up preferring having an actual spider on one’s being than spending one more minute contemplating the chilling look and overwhelming malodor of the ghost of friendship.
If the milk of human kindness has no effect upon it, there is little chance that the liquors of human production will succeed in casting this literal ghastly figure out of the picture. And so no amount of drink, or any other form of intoxicant, can be relied upon. The ghost will continue to hover above the two, or three, or more fools who believe that, if only they cast a shadow large enough, the ghost will find a reason to retreat.
The sobering truth is that this ghost will not flee in horror until this proverbial light of truth shines upon all parties: that the friendship is dead, and that no amount of cajoling will bring it back to life. That all that once held a colorful tone, and which could be deemed as being unarguably delightful—is to be no more. Then and only then, perhaps, can all parties come to the polite agreement that interactions which aspire to reach that which seeks to confer everlasting benefits upon each and all are to be avoided; or in other words that suit this meditation:
That the ghost of friendship should not be conjured where friendship dropped dead.
By: Andrés Ordorica
Image: Maria Sibylla Merian (circa 1690)