Sunday, February 04, 2007

day 17

Over the last two years nothing has changed. Same apartment. Same bus. Same work. Same latte. Same walk home.

However, now it all seems different.

Over the last few days, my personal soundtrack has added new songs, themes, and instruments. The laughter of children. A train in the distance. The hum of idling engines. Power tools. Cars splashing through puddles. Telephones. Creaking doors. And all the many assorted melodies of daily life.

Tonight there was a new song, theme, and instrument. My walk home was accompanied by a police siren coming my way. In front of me, surrounded by a gaggle of onlookers, was my beggar friend. Only now he wasn’t poised on his throne of poverty and struggle. Instead, he lay on the ground motionless and at peace, his chair lying beside him. From what I could gather, he just collapsed along the sidewalk. Probably a victim of exposure on this freezing night. His skin was already turning blue and his grey blanket and cardboard sign soak in water as it seeps through the broken ice. Now at rest, this frozen body is a statue symbolizing triumph and endurance through pain and loss.

Walking home, I hear the simple sounds of our meal replay in my mind, accompanying the sirens behind me. Lines in the night sky appear above me constructing new constellations. Zitianos, or the Beggar, finds his new mythic home between Hydra and Canis Major.

Back at home, I sit back and reflect on what I just witnessed. My mortality seems ever clear and ever closer. On TV, the evening news puts an exclamation point on the matter of fact that all life must come to an end. Bombs in the Middle East. A child missing. Major car accidents. It all ends the same. I reflect on the news I was given a couple weeks ago. All life must end, including my own. It’s only a matter of time. It could be tomorrow, or the next day.

Next to my bed is a picture of her. It’s been over two years now and still I see her in my dreams. We didn’t see it coming and I never had a chance to prepare for it. Nevertheless, she lived life to the fullest, and taught me to find the smallest beauties of everyday life.

As I fade into the world of dreams, Zitianos joins her and looks at me. He still doesn’t speak, but his gestures speak volumes. He grins and she tells me to live.

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