The thing about nations is that they always look different to someone else. I could tell you that America is actually more of a dirty blond with tanned skin. But you could tell me, he's definitely black with a shaved head. You could even tell me America is a woman. The thing is nations represent people. They aren't human. They never have been and they never will be.

There is an echo in there, of an individual of a person who lives apart from the people they represent. But it is an echo. It's a personality borne from years and years of memories, the way a computer might gain a personality if you input it with enough coding. There is an Alfred and he's a geek. He loves superhero comics and is an ardent Trekkie. He works out daily and eats burgers by the tons. You see him running up and down the White House halls. But he is just one facet, one face, of a nation.

That was the face Himaruya saw when he came here to the United States. That is the face he drew and published. But I have seen America slip out of that face as easily as one slips off a shirt or a pair of pants. I have seen him with his boys and girls, in the dust of deserts and against the background of bombs. I have seen him with his boys and girls, in classrooms amongst crayon drawings and half-legible names. I have seen him in cafes and conventions and computer labs and corporate offices.

Because this is what a nation is. He stares out at me through baby blue eyes and dreamer's smile because that is the America I want to see. Because he easily weilds a gun as well as he can a stethoscope. And often, I look at others and I wonder what they see. I wonder if they see youth or age. I wonder if they see him walk in confidence or limp out the door.

The thing about nations is you could've met them. You could've bumped them on the street, waited in line behind them in a grocery store, or sat with them on the bus. The thing about nations is you would never give them a second glance. They are as normal as the scenery, at home in a train station as they are in the Oval Office. They belong you see and why wouldn't they? You live in their bones, in their blood, in the breath between each pulse. You could very well look at them and see your face staring right back. For you are theirs as much as they are yours.

The thing about nations is they are everyone and no one all at once. You could've met them, you probably already have. You just didn't know.

Author's note:

I once asked America what he saw when he met up with other nations. If nations shifted shape and skin with every unique view, what form would nations see? Nations are compromised of millions of unique views and countless varying opinions. How would they see each other? What do nations see?

And America just smiled and told me.