The smell of fresh rolls wafted through the dining area. I sat at the bar waiting for my order. A man sat three stools down. I caught intermittent mumbles about death, the end of the world, and some Bible verses. I wonder if he knows something I don’t? If he hears the echo of voices from a place I’ll never know. If he sees the faces of loved ones passed? A full conversation with no one. At least no one I could see.
I take my place as part of a final generation that grew up when Saturday morning cartoons were still a thing, and Sundays were still held sacred. Before internet and cell phones trapped us in zombie mode. Saying so makes me feel ancient. It’s a strange thing when change comes so quickly. A quarter of a century from a time when summers were full of boredom and adventure as the cicadas composed the perfect score until dark. When the crisp fall air ushered in the new school year that smelled of fresh linens and rain. And Winter was short, but brutal, for those use to dry heat. And Spring couldn’t come fast enough. We chased lightning bugs, climbed trees, rode bikes, and laid in the green grass. No video game could take us on an adventure the way our own back yard could. It is a strange thing that all of this, while still here, will never be seen the same to those who come after us. Barefoot and happy, a nostalgia we will bear for all of our days.
I use to think when people died young it was because there was so much sadness in their hearts they just could’t keep it from breaking. I would have kept on believing this had I not lost my daddy so young, or experienced the agony of losing two unborn children, only to find I still managed to wake up the next morning. So now, I believe we all just walk around with these broken hearts, seeking out someone to mend them. The world churns its season, and we cling to all the things that once seemed small. The way he shook his leg in anxiousness or the crinkle in their nose when they were deep in thought. In those moments, we remember how truly fleeting life is. We are mayflies in a world that will continue long after us.
The words rolled off her tongue so eloquently. I, even believed her bullshit. She wore that infectious smile and feigned excitement when she met someone new. Inviting you to rub elbows with the “elites,” like that is where you belonged. Fooled so many, including myself, with her slippery manipulations. If she said you were enough, you felt you were, but disagree even once and she’d knock you down just as quickly as she built you. No worries, you’re safe, as long as you stay beneath her. Where you belong. As long as she is always right, as long as you are still useful to her.