The Architect's Essence, The Diary of Sunrise

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Unknown Date 2479 A.R.T

This is not an entry as such, not one which can be assigned to any particular date anyway. It is more of a profile of an individual whom I became acquainted with around this time. The individual in question had christened himself Po-po, a name which had struck me as rather odd. All of the other Orderlies had assigned themselves names belonging to recognizable objects or things but I found myself wondering what a po-po was and so one rather dreary evening I had decided to ask Po-po the crux of his name.

I had found Po-po standing alone, writing upon a relatively bare patch of mountainside. We had done a lot of talking over the last few weeks and the mountainside was beginning to resemble the notebook of some crazed, list obsessed giant.

I had stood back and read through Po-po’s writing before I had approached him. He’d appeared to be having a one-sided conversation with himself which had read something like this:

Good afternoon Po-po. How are you feeling?

Po-po I asked how you were feeling, aren’t you going to answer me?

You’re in rather a quiet mood today aren’t you. Have I done something to upset you?

Is it because I was talking to Banjo and Puddle earlier? Are you jealous?

You’re still my best friend Po-po you know that.

Want to play noughts and crosses?

Ok you be noughts and I’ll be crosses.

Ok, ok calm down you can be crosses if it means that much to you but I’m going first.

(A noughts and crosses grid had been scratched out next to this conversation but so far only one O had been filled in.)

It’s your go Po-po.

Here take the stone and make your move.

You have butterfingers today Po-po.

Okay Po-po you’ve dropped the stone twelve times in a row now! You’re doing it on purpose!

Fine be like that! We won’t play then!

Would you like to go sit on that comfy rock and watch the sunset later?

Okay good, I’ll look forward to that.

Have you noticed how squeaky Pineapple’s suit is?

I know! He sounds like a bag full of mice when he walks doesn’t he.

Yeah, I guess you could say that.

You’re very witty Po-po.

Don’t tell him I said anything will you. I don’t want to make him self-conscious of his squeak.

Yes, I know I can trust you.

So, do you want to finish our game of noughts and crosses now?

Ok good here take the stone.

Concentrate Po-po you’re still dropping it. Hold out your hand and I’ll put it in your palm.

As I had watched Po-po he had held out his writing stone at arm’s length and had dropped it onto the floor. He’d quickly picked it up again and had written, You’re just being silly now Po-po! It was at this point that I had decided to interrupt him and I’d tapped him on the shoulder, causing him to jump. Oh, hello Sunrise, he’d written.

I’m sorry to interrupt your game Po-po, I’d replied, but I was wondering if you could enlighten me as to what a po-po is?

Po-po’s response had been a short and confusing one. He’d simply written, This is Po-po, and he’d stuck his arm out to his side as if he was draping it around someone’s shoulders. He is my good friend.

I see, I written, humoring him. But I thought you were Po-po?

Oh, I am Po-po, Po-po had replied, but my good friend Po-po goes by the same name. We have so much in common you see. Po-po goes everywhere with me. He had looked at his invisible friend and written, Aren’t you going to say hello to Sunrise Po-po?

I’m not sure why but I had found myself staring at the empty air expectantly, awaiting its greeting. When it did not Po-po had become agitated and had apologized for his friend’s silence, stating that Po-po wasn’t being rude he was just a little shy around new people.

That’s quite alright, I’d written, meeting new people can be hard. Would you mind if I joined Po-po and yourself on that comfy rock to watch the sunset later?

We’d be delighted, Po-po had replied.

Later that day I did indeed meet with Po-po and the rock was indeed comfortable as Po-po had described. I recall that I did cause a little bother however when I’d sat myself down on Po-po’s right only to have him tell me that I’d just sat upon his friend. I had apologized profusely and had seated myself instead on Po-po’s left. Over the years myself and the other Orderlies have come to learn that Po-po’s friend is always to be found on his right-hand side and so, if passing him on his right in a corridor we give him an extra wide berth for fear of walking into his friend. It has also become an unwritten rule that no one ever takes a seat on Po-po’s right side as his friend is usually occupying it.

Though they often quarrel Po-po’s friendship with his invisible counterpart has never waned. At first, I thought that Po-po’s friend was just a figment of his imagination, maybe an enduring mental construct formed during his previous existence within Hush Prairie but over the years I’ve seen many strange phenomena occur around Po-po which leads me to believe that maybe his friend is more than just imaginary.

On one occasion Po-po had visited my office on an errand for Blancmange. He had come to inform me that all of the silver cutlery had inexplicably vanished from the cafeteria and that the patients were currently trying to eat soup with chopsticks. Remembering his foibles, I had asked if he and his friend would care to sit so that they could fully explain the cafeteria situation. Po-po had sat as instructed and the empty seat to the right of him had also drawn itself up to my desk. When I had asked Po-po how he had managed to move the chair without touching it he had given me a strange look and had advised me to go and lie down, stating that it had clearly been his friend Po-po and not him who had moved and now sat in the chair.

I have also heard similar stories of strange goings-on surrounding Po-po from other Orderlies; tales of muddy, ownerless footprints appearing at Po-po’s side as he walks in from the gardens, accounts of Po-po attempting to play catch with his friend and the ball hovering in the air for a few seconds before falling to the ground, yarns of mysteriously opening doors, self-righting bottles of milk, floating chalkboards and exploding sandwiches.

I once saw Po-po carry a piano from the music hall seemingly singlehandedly, a fete which usually takes two if not three Orderlies to accomplish. When I had asked him how he had managed it alone he’d suggested that I go see a witchdoctor about my ailing vision and had informed me that quite obviously his good friend Po-po had helped him.

I am not sure of the origins of these phenomena, but I can only fathom two possible causes. Either Po-po’s belief in his friend is so strong that it is actually manifesting physical reactions or Po-po’s friend is indeed real, an invisible, metaphysical entity which follows Po-po everywhere he goes.

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