The Farewell Blues

This is one of the times when you don’t want your cigarette to burn out. Yesterday the sky was clear, and I could see more stars than I’m supposed to see in this place. I saw Orion, the only constellation I can tell apart from the others, and I thought about how he always seems to accompany me. There’s a whole bunch of stars that we’re not supposed to see on the other side of the world. That’s a given. Wherever we are, we get to look up and see the exact same thing at night. In the reflection of the dark blue sky we can see each other smiling from below watching the stars. This is how we know we exist in each other. Our presence, it binds us. Our lines, they bind us to one another.

This is one of those nights when you don’t want to finish your beer. Lying in the grass, we get to see so much in each other, even looking at the ground. We share dreams and aspirations and past experiences. All we ever see of each other is a tiny dot moving across a line that we call time. All we ever see of each other is our old memories. We remember. I close my eyes and I see you, sitting next to me, looking at the floor looking at me. Looking at the clouds and the stars and the planes that land not far from where we are. We take pride in how we can see all these things and still get up in the morning.

Twenty-first century men we are. Getting on planes, making phone calls, sleeping on long trips. Hoping we get home one day. Home is all we really cherish. A bed. A familiar face. A familiar body. Our old photos together. A ticket in our hand. A suitcase trailing our steps, writing our story. A seal in our passport. We long for home wherever we are. We long for phone calls and letters. We long for a smile and a warm drink. The stains in our suits tell the stories of our accidents. Our wedding rings show our commitment, but not as much as our shiny shoes. Our ironed shirts and pants. New socks. New jacket. Our sober patterned ties. The smell of cologne. How others perceive us. Our goals and achievements. A picture of our wives in our wallet.

We talk about basing our lives on ourselves and not on others, but we are doomed for admiration. You and me, we are destined for great things. We will be on the cover of magazines and newspapers. We’ll call each other and congratulate ourselves on the great work we’ve done. Despite the distance between us, we will always be great friends. We’ll go to weddings and funerals together. We’ll laugh about old jokes and habits and remember. So many memories to share, you and me. Someday, I will stand here, and look at that sky beneath which we drank and joked and laughed and cried, and get lost in those memories. I will remember how your face looks right now. I will see your face, and smile.


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