Smokey Blues

Stumbling out of the bar into the cold night air, with a single, unlit, cigarette dangling from my lips, I saw a young man sitting on the curb. He couldn't have been more than 20, maybe 25 years old. I sat down on the cold, damp, concrete curb next to him, offering one of the bent smokes from the beat-up pack I had bought three days ago. He took one in silence, nodding at me before returning to sip on his beer, staring out into nothingness.

It was a while before I decided to say anything.

"Sometimes, things can never change, y'know?"

I could see his head turn towards me from the corner of my eye. I kept on looking straight ahead, pausing to light my cigarette and to take a long drag. Inhale.

"I feel like the surface of a person is a reflection of what they want to be on the inside, y'know?"    

Exhale. Now I had his attention.

"I mean, it's all fine and dandy ifs you're drop-dead gorgeous, but what about the uglies? I'm not talking about the kind with pimples, I'm talking about the really fucked up ones. The uggos. You'd hope that at least they'd have some sort of an adoring, kind soul."

I paused again, to spit on the pavement in-between my knees. I couldn't stand the dry mouth smoking gave you, but I couldn't stop smoking, either.

"Maybe I'm just speaking gibberish. Maybe it's too nonsensical, even for a drunk like me, to be spewing at quarter-past midnight on a Thursday. You know what I don't understand?"

The kid just looked at me, shrugging, as if to indicate he didn't.

"How does anyone think that Starbucks is actually any good? Especially, when they have to bus a table for three hours to be able to afford that five-dollar cup of burnt-to-shit trendy coffee."

The kid chuckled, and nodded, bowing his head down to his drink once more.

"Ah fuck it. What they do with their time is their issue. I do wonder what people do with their free time, though. I mean, do they invest it, or do they spend it. Like, do they collect it all and store it all in some magical fucking vault? If time is so precious and valuable, why don't they flaunt it like the rest of the cheap lives? Fuck, I mean, I do nothing all day and it makes me a goddamn billionaire! Ten bucks says that somewhere, someone with this snarky ass voice is saying, 'it's not the actual time, but how you use it.' Fuuuuuck yoou."

I flicked the cigarette from my fingers out into the street, watching it roll out of the circle of light sent from the streetlight above and into the darkness.

"The nights is calming this time of year, y'know? Things just get...clearer, and for what it's worth, I'd like to think I can I still see the stars, y'know man? Like they're the pin holes pricked into a desperate lover's rubber. Like, this one night, I was walking with a friend of mine, walking his dog, right, and suddenly, out of nowhere, I just fell in love with the idea of life. It was one of those sappy moments when I'd look at a tree, and up at the sky, and think, 'this is just brilliant.' And just as fast as I fell in love with the idea of life, I fell right out of it."

I stood up, and dusted myself off, and so did the kid. He handed me the bottle, of which I downed the remaining contents, before tossing it out into the street as well. I reached into my pockets and pulled out my last cigarette.

"But despite it all, I still can't help but stare at the clock everyday, like it's counting down to something...something. Y'know?"

I put the cigarette to my lips, and lit it, taking a long drag.

Inhale.

"I think...I think that I'm going to spend the rest of my time being. Just...being, y'know? Ah, whatever. Sorry, man, for being such a bummer. Listen, thanks for listening to me ramble. Here's five-bucks, go grab yourself another pint."

The kid went inside, and I stood out there on the curb, just being.

Exhale.

Tapas EaswarComment