She looks at the world with a skeptical stare.

We meet for tea. On the wall is a framed photo, the cover of a book:
Anxious to Please: 7 Revolutionary Practices for the Chronically Nice
The perfect Seattle book. My friend shows up on time.

She has eyes that penetrate with distrust.

Admirable, he didn’t need to double confirm.
1. One must show up.
I order herbal Chai, he orders Snow White, a green tea.

She rarely wants anything to do with anyone.

What bugs me as we sit and drink our tea is his dust-laden eyeglasses.
2. One must be present when one shows up.
How can he see clearly, distracted by his cloudy lenses…

She guards her words, a dragon in front of her castle-home.

We talk, but I don’t mention the dust.
3. One must keep the commitment one makes.
We are friends, yet never before met for tea.

She’s wary of people; has names for them: grabbers, swindlers, child thieves.

Secretly, I think this book on the chronically nice must be meant for me.
4. One must keep one’s word.
The question, how can he see, is blatantly consuming me.

She’ll bark and bite and scratch your eyes like a cat, a lion.

It’s hard to relax into the now with my Zen cup of tea.
5. Be here now.
He said he’d be here and he is. But am I?

She’s used to a fight, you can see it in her untamed hair.

How nice do I have to be? Distracted from the moment.
6. One must say what one has to say.
Another question puzzles me, how well do I know my friend?

She’s used to sitting on curbs alongside the sidewalk.

I clean my eyeglasses each and every day.
Lost wondering what habits people cultivate.
How well can he see with such dusty lenses?

She’s grown up fast and fighting.

Can I rely on someone with dust-laden glasses?
7. Breathe.
A micro fiber cloth in my bag, I watch his eyes through the dust.

She won’t allow herself to be pushed around.

I take my glasses off to see even clearer, pour yet another cup of tea.
Wonder about the 7 Revolutionary Practices.