Expiration Date

It doesn’t matter who I am.

We all have an expiration date. If life goes (and trust me it goes) you might be like some people and keep your head down really down, buried under all your grief, pain and misery, wondering why life was so awful. You keep this up for years and then 60 years pass you by and then BOOM; your expiration date arrives.

You’ll lie down and you’ll get 30 seconds of enlightenment. If you’re lucky, you’ll enjoy the revelation. You’ll feel young again, but you’ll feel frail. Like you could do it all over again, but you’ll choose not to. You’ll choose not to because that’s been your experience and you’ve painted your lens with that sour disposition. Those five minutes of pure elation and joy you feel after you’ve discovered something beautiful. You can get that, if you don’t peek at your expiration date. Well I got something to tell you…

I peaked.

I peaked at my expiration date. 

It really doesn’t matter how I peaked. Or why. Just know that I did and life becomes really stressful. I also forgot to mention that my life eviction notice is less than a few hours away.

Time drips away smoothly and uninterrupted. It is unstoppable.

Suddenly, things that annoy you, don’t anymore.

I find myself in the middle of the French Quarter plus it’s August. I have only been here one time in my life when I was a kid but clearly, New Orleans left that much of an impression on me for me to remember after all this time.

It’s hazy.

Not the terrible weather. No. My eyes are hazy and blinking it away makes it hard for me to see the beauty I’m missing around me. Even that warm weather. The one that makes your skin perspire. It’s not that obnoxious heat. Just that perfect body temperature heat. I hate how perfect it is.

I’m not dressed for this. In my last moments, I see the people around me that call nature their homes. They need these articles of clothing more than I do. I give them my boots and socks. My coat. The homeless man cried and touched my face as I gave it to him. I’ve never seen a man give me that look of gratitude before. I’ve never felt this way before.

My bare feet touch the gravel beneath me and for some unexplainable reason, I hear everything better than before. The stillness of life around me. The millions of insects breathing and rubbing and being. They make such noisy, aggravating, beautiful sounds.

I see people in the town. They’re enjoying the summer evening. They enjoy every second.

I hear the music swelling from a musician. He’s taken such excellent care of his saxophone. 

“Hey Maestro,” I begin. The musician doesn’t know me. I probably look like any other homeless man in the street. “I’m real sorry. I just gave away all my earthly possessions away and I haven’t much time left. It would mean the world to me if you could play me just one song.”

“What ‘ere ‘eard,” I heard him say. I understood, regardless of his accent.

“Can you play Imagine for me? By John Lennon?”

The musician smiled underneath his thick, old beard. His teeth shined in the dusk of the evening as if it sparked a splendid memory.  The musician held the instrument to his mouth and closed his eyes. He began to vocalize the beginning melody.

He can sing. Of course. It was perfect. I took a step back to the street and saw the evening lights warm up the trees and banisters. The musicians melody soothes me.

And he played it for me. Boy, did he play. 

There’s this moment when you can feel everything. And everyone. That saxophone . The musician plays those familiar notes. It’s like unbuttoning your shirt after a long day of work.

I sat down on a bench across. The musician was marvelous. He drew an interested crowd. 

From here, I can see everything.

Today was difficult, but it always is. You can still find happiness within.

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