he stared at the wall of cigarettes at the store wondering whether or not he’d ever try quitting smoking honestly. the past few dozen times he decided to quit smoking was done with a cigarette between his lips and two puffs sent off. come to think of it, i don’t think he ever intended to quit – he may well invite cancer out for a beer. that’s saying much because he wasn’t really a drinker, but he drank much alone and less with company around. he was a fellow that devoured envy from the timid, like cookies, but he always asked if you wanted to go halfsies. he was your close friend even if you’d just met him 5 minutes earlier. he played the fool so that others could join in on the good vibes but always remembered your name and astrological sign. he’d look you in the eye and tell you how he’d be the wrong person to fall in love with and even friendzone himself so that everybody else could climb out of that awkward moment of dud romance, and then share a cigarette with you to shoo it away.
the guy wasn’t an ordinary fool as he was extraordinary at reading people. you could even get away with calling the guy the fakest guy you’d ever met and he’d try to prove you right. he was selfless in that tragic way that he focused on the tiny personal details of another, the ones overlooked, and made then shine and spark while he took an honest smile as payment. he was glad to. I’ve never truly met him but i’ve heard stories. he was that guy that knew all of your friends but you. making friends was easy to him. I envy that. saying hello was my achilles heel. he rounded up companions as well as i can alienate myself. it’s like we’re polar opposites but i feel i understand him more than he does himself. i think he understands me too which is why he was the way he was. the guy is a beast you could couldn’t help but like.
somewhere along the line of time, it slowly went away. with so many people smiling around him he grew more into himself and away from the numbers. even lighting up the next cigarette squeezed a zit of hesitation outta him. he began to worry about opinions. he worried. he became an adult in the cutthroat world of cool, with the word “adult” itself feels like a sentencing. or like a registered sex offender’s list. not being able to do what you’ve comfortably done for so long without worrying about the consequences until it was too late. “Untill it was too late,” is the most dreadful phrase to rise in our pursuit of happiness. once he became an adult he realized it wasn’t about having fun anymore.
it was more about pretending to o.k. and tired from all the working and the exercise and the cutting down on something or other. the thought of having to follow someone else’s footsteps for once shanked his spirit. but being him, he didn’t go down. he never would. but that shanking (or shivving) was only the first in a series that knew no mercy. the hurricane progression of being an independent man or woman, to hold your own… his was a spirit become unrecognizable it had been brutalized on a pattern. this was a fellow that spent his formidable years on the smiles that stapled everyone else’s face while he smoked a cigarette pretending he wasn’t compensating his immeasurable emptiness, until it was too late.
he doesn’t recognize himself in the mirror when he brushes his yellowing teeth. he wondered if he wasted his good years not making himself happy. he wonders how much further his receding hairline will recede. he wonders if he was to blame. he wonders if he’s too late. he wonders about all the shitty selfish things he wonders he should’ve been worried about, the shit he never cared to wonder about when he only had to make you laugh smile. a timid beastly frail creature he becometh. he becomes that crazy random on the train or city bus or supermarket that’s strangely outgoing and unreasonably upbeat. he even bags on himself as though he’s begging you to laugh at him. to consider him. he limbos between the pros and cons of life and/or death, don’t matter, because they look the same to him.
here’s to those that gave their best to you when you were young and lost, free of charge so that you could tow the world.