Day 510, November 17, 2021

How it Begins

It begins with the ending, 
the loss, 
a whispered conversation of men talking so quietly, 
that he must lean in close, 
their heads almost touching. 

They are almost like old friends, 
but really they are like fallen leaves, 
and have only landed near each other, 
the lamina touching, 
the dampness of the earth reminding them of earthworms. 

The whispered conversation becomes inaudible 
and it is one man nodding as if in agreement, 
but really, 
he has ceased hearing the conversation, 
he has stopped trying to listen, 
their heads are drifting apart and 
one man is remembering what he has lost. 

The mind can play with time 
and make him believe he is not such an old man, 
that he is once again useful, 
desirable, 
that he could protect someone 
or win someone. 
That he could take a lover, 
or more than one. 
That he could eat and drink 
without remorse. 

For a moment 
it seems he could strike the other man down 
and walk away as one might drop a piece of trash 
and pretend not to notice, 
if he did such things. 

The beginning is about responsibility, 
about how chickens come to roost. 
It is about how everything one does in life 
can seem to add up to something, 
but that something is sometimes nothing. 

The man does not write a book. 

He does not save the world. 

He stares at the exit to the banquet hall 
and does the last thing his companion expects. 

He grabs the hand of the talking man 
and writes a phone number on the man’s palm, 
then leaves as if to get some fresh air, 
to smoke a cigarette, if he still did such things, 
as if there was someone waiting for him 
in an idling car. 

Leaving, 
he thinks to himself, 
can be as satisfying as anything.



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