The Sound of Her Wings

The Sound of Her Wings

After years of pumping myself up every day, as I guzzle various drugs and wrestle with the reality of having a second cancer diagnosis, I begin to pay attention to the creeping cacophony of voices riding the roller coaster in my head. 

That buzzing seems to tell me that my efforts are probably for naught. 

The call for the last dance is closer than I thought.

Can I hear the music?

Was that the sound of her wings moving closer and closer?

I ignore the voice telling me that I need to “think positively” and “create” my reality. 

Do I believe that? 

Can I make a tangible difference in the fabric of reality because I am hoping, wishing, imagining, and projecting some image of success onto myself through the mirror of my mind?

Does the universe care? 

Is something out there listening?

I can hear the clock ticking, ticking, ticking – calling me to one last rally.

Is anyone listening?

Not likely.

Morning ritual. 

Follow my long-gone dog. 

Go to Javasti’s coffee shop.

I leaf through the morning headlines on my phone before going in to make my predictable purchase.

I’ve lost my fire about politics recognizing I’ve been disappointed too many times. 

I don’t want to go down that road again.

I’ve become either cynical or exhausted. 

I recognize that the same old crew of experts has elbowed their way onto committees, studies, and panels to decide what is best for the rest of us. Their best may not be good enough, but I’m tired of trying to ramp up my arguments to a level beyond a Rumi quote that is either totally relevant or totally irrelevant. 

Doesn’t matter. 

The person you are talking to isn’t listening.

I watch the unfolding mini-dramas.

Illegal parking followed by sprints into the cafe!

Some are texting or conversing on their iPhones in their race to claim the coffee prize. 

I watch the anxious feeling of disappointment on some when they realize they will have to wait their turn to order and disappear back into the morning night. 

Going somewhere quickly. 

Somewhere important. 

Somewhere where someone pays them for whatever it is they do out there in the dark.

Morning has not totally broken.

There is hardly a glance at me, or others, who regularly occupy time and space in the queue. 

Several people sit at tables reading the paper.

Some are banging away on laptops, iPads, or iPhones in terror of interacting with anyone else sitting close.

A nod.

A “Good morning!”

No conversation.

What if they ask me about what I do when I’m not skimming the surface at the coffee shop? 

Tell them I’m embracing the challenge of my life. No, thank you.

Keep my head down.

Watch from an angle.

Women enter and exit without a glance in my direction. 

I am not there anymore than the little man that dropped off the newspapers earlier in the dark. 

I watch some of the ladies take two coffees out to someone waiting expectantly.

I am envious.

Occasionally I am lonely.

I am on my own.

Am I scared that this is it?

I fight back with a jolly euphemism about myself to myself.

I purchase a coffee and join the klatch in the adjacent lot for moments of escape.

Maybe I’m wrong.

I now head back to where I started hearing your voice telling me the party’s just about over for me.

Your wings sound louder as friend after friend drops away.

I push that aside grasping to the life raft of chance and hope.

If I just keep moving, something will happen.

Keep moving.

Keep going.

Keep trying. Keep wishing!

To whom – for what?

For a day without fatigue, minor discomfort and worry?

For money, power, prestige, women, stuff? 

What would I do with it besides giving it all away?

I dance with memories of times when I was perhaps more significant, cherished, listened to, admired, envied, and loved for a time.

Before, I was sick.

My daughters, and grandson, are on their paths, so I guess, in a way, I was successful at that. I hope so.

I don’t even know what to bring to the party anymore.

I tell myself to let tenderness run rampant with my memories. 

They are mine. 

Be free – remember all those hugs that have gone the way of old campfire smoke.

The promises echo off the canyons in the shady places!

Throw light on all the good times.

Skip over all the blunders and faulty steps that inhibited my journey.

I look to be nourished with a soft light knowing that it was all as it should have been.

I am a passenger on the wave that carried me to where I am today.

Lean into the curl and ride it one more time.

Shout out in joy as I head towards the reef.

The crash will be silent and painless.

She will come for me when I am ready.

Look for her. 

I’ll listen for the soft flutter of her wings.

She will be more beautiful than I ever could have imagined.

Everything else is an illusion.

M Barrett Miller
December 2022

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