The days I’ve spent bareback and barefoot in the swamp grass, muddy toes, hands behind my head as a pillow against the rough bark of an old oak. Days spent bathing mostly naked in the sunshine of a younger, kinder sun. Hiding from the old woman, perplexed that if she wanted me to waste my time cutting her cattails and reeds, why should I not, instead, waste my day doing a better nothing that suits me?
The days of my later youth spent in a fog and drug induced near coma, and the noise and crime that accompanied that life is now the soundtrack to that squandered life that plays an endless loop in a now quiet corner of my mind. The lies of a life spent running from Federales and trusting in confederates.
The harsh reality, looking at a photo album with my cousin that there are no pictures of me from that half-naked boy of seven or eight to forty years gone because I wasn’t quite here for most of that time. I was dull and translucent and finally opaque.
The news, today, just now of a friend’s death, not a good friend, just another Middletown boy, and the reality of the loss of all those days. The reality that there are more days behind me than in front of me, the very real desire to have back just one or two of those swamp grass days, and all the comatose days, and the wish that the road had taken a more honorable twist and path.
Someone will tell me I’m sure you cannot look back in anger or regret, I don’t. On days like this though, I do look back with a very real and deep sense of every moment left on the table.