Inside A Rainbow

“Slow down, you move too fast. You’ve got to make the morning last. Just kicking down the cobble stones; looking for fun and feeling groovy”. – The 59th Street Bridge Song  Simon and Garfunkel

Another Groundhog Day at the coffee clutch; the pretty young women are full of welcoming smiles and cheerful banter as we face off to perform our ritual kabuki dance. “Want your regular Nick? Getting pretty nice out there, eh: they say?”  I swipe a finger across my throat and fake a stab to my heart signaling my favorite drink; the Stab and Kill; two shots of espresso over dark roast; as I retort. “I haven’t been warm in six months and I’m snow blind from the constant sight of white on my ocular nerves. Once it gets forty-two degrees here, which I remind you is ten degrees above freezing, everybody pretends they’re in Cancun. But yea, compared to Antarctica; its swell”.

Bursting through the door as if on cue dances our resident carnival minstrel and Mr. Bojangles impersonator; Gandalf. I wave him over.  He examines the chair at my table like their might be snakes in it; then like an Indian performing a slow motion war dance; deposits his brittle bones and settles in. A flower child wilted; my new friend’s face spans the entirety of the sixties, from the optimism of the Kennedy years all the way through to the breaking of the counter-culture wave with Nixon’s election; the carnality, the violence, the insecurity and the anxiety all register in the deep crevices and wind dried folds of his ruddy cheeks.

He looks a rambling road-weary wreck ready to fold in on himself. I imagine that when he finally falls he’ll go down like six feet of chain. He speaks in allegory with a voice so damaged by a lifetime of frantic screams, weed and nicotine; that when he talks his whole being vibrates; what emerges sounds forced out of a sucking chest wound; made even more incoherent as he devours a brownie and guzzles a steaming cup of Joe.

The hell broth swimming inside the guts of his soul reflects out through eyeballs that glisten like a peeled hard-boiled egg. He is as ugly as a wart on a witch’s nose. He reveals in tones both hopeless and lamentable; of realizing he’d become more interested in the theater than the Play and society has finally caught up to him.

For most, as we age, we have the opportunity to accept who we are, instead of focusing on who we feel we need to become. We relax into being ourselves and our faces start to look like who we are. The world settles into more and more familiar patterns and that acceptance brings diminished anxiety and a higher degree of enjoyment. But for some the struggle never ends and the tension from a grip held more white knuckle firm every decade results in a psyche so pained the faces of those afflicted resemble a tightly woven spool of barbed wire.

And I think about this; as the caps of the lonely, undulating tree stands glow whimsical one after the other and the angled sun rises slowly on the northern horizon; bright rays are reflecting blindly off the snow as a dark cloud that had blotted the sun for a time, creating a wan grey light, evaporates and disappears; a silky white contrail from a jet plane, mimicking the cloud’s dark beast, like my infamous friend as he makes for the exit, meekly dissolves.