Photo by Yanay Tsabary
He’d order cold cokes from the bar, tip his bottle over ice and starve his limbs in that march towards what is next for all living in human flesh. The shakes were growing in strength, worse in the morning each day when he woke to full sunlight and clothes heavy with sweat. Ah, but the swaying by afternoon he embraced, even in sweltering humidity. He was merely dancing with the wind he told himself. Dancing to ocean currents and gravity pulls from full moons.
The grains of crushed shells he found in his scalp each night, proof he was still on this earth. The salt water that dripped from his eyes when he laid in bed and thought of his daughter continents away, proof he was part of that swirling water with waves and seaweed a hundred feet away.
The young folks around him at the hostel kept to themselves for most of the day. Not noticing much more than their tanned skin and next beer. Eating, drinking, laughing, yelling, ice dancing, making love against the walls in the wash rooms. Gerrald just smiled, holding his hands on his red Dixie cup filled with his last life, his belladonna his decomposing flesh over much needed ice. He’d tuck the cup between his legs the size of arms, hold his cigarette near his stained lips and observe the surrounding hormones be pulled by giant marionette strings attached to that which is next.
They didn’t know yet. These puppets. Not what Gerrald knew. His strings long frayed, even before his daughter was born. His freedom from control, the beginning of his dramedy. When his chaos met reality and the battle swirled into existential tornados softened only by a simple amber liquid. His quiet in a cup. He had tried, the best he could at one time, to lasso back with pills but had never reached far enough to succeed.The only answer became the problem. One that both severed and cemented his life’s path.
But it had not been without moments of pureness. Ones he now cherished while life pumped new beginnings all around.The smallness never forgotten.
A strong cup of coffee in early morning sunlight.
A first drag from a fresh pack after a good meal of sausage and potatoes with dark beer.
A post coital smile from swollen lips.
A honey bee landing on a leguminous burst of red clover dragging heavily pollinated legs through sex.
The tiniest of baby feet pushing back on his hand revealing the secret to life’s survival.
It was enough now to merely observe without participation. His voice long gone. His desire to be, waning. Now it was just the last bits of unfraying left before his strings were severed forever. A few more rum and cokes. A few more nights of clear skies and stars lighting luminescent pathways down to the swirling chaos of salt water. When he finally would and could truly drift down to the water with the leatherbacks and take one step after another until he became that…which is next…for all living in flesh.