He drove himself too fast. His life was a blur, punctuated by moments of clarity. At the altar, his wives, in the honeymoon suites, the kitchens, bedrooms, wanting love. His children showing him a toy, a picture they drew. Road signs. Looping overpasses. Changing signals. He felt maligned by the curves, forced to brake, always something around the bend to avoid – it never failed. People needing his advice, his signature on a document. Meetings that stalled, jerking endlessly on. An associate asking him: Did he have time for lunch? His reply: No, there was barely time in the day to change his own diapers! Good Lord, he joked, had he been there that long? Obligatory laughter. The banter of doing business. He would stand, shake hands, and be first out the door. From his car phone he conducted court, instructing others what to do as he maneuvered the wheel single-handedly. He reveled in the high speed he traveled. The perks. Money. The power to veto. Impulsive desires quenched instantly. Of course it came with the magnetic draw of a scrap-metal world envying him. Yet he was generous. Donations here and there. New homes and pools for his families. His secretaries lavished upon. One too much. Causing a divorce. A marriage. His second, or was that his third? Two more children. Their names temporarily escaped him. He had missed their births. All five of them. Scheduling conflicts. It couldn’t be helped. There were many who required his availability. Without his wisdom institutions would fail. The stock market could crash. Nations could collapse! It was like purgatory being sequestered for undetermined lengths of stay, but he would steadfastly remain until the crisis – whatever it was – had been resolved. His opinion on an urgent matter was needed. Would he like his diaper changed? It broke the tension. He expelled a gruff laugh and said—No. He would not! He would rather have lunch! An advisor came close to whisper in his ear to remind him he already had lunch. He turned his head, a maneuver requiring great effort, to discover who in the blazes was speaking. A nurse!? He noticed the apparatus at his bedside and the many tubes attached to his body. Shocking him with a lightning bolt of realization. He was old, out of commission, barely functioning. He saw flowers. A basket of fruit. Greeting cards like over-sized confetti colorfully implying Bon Voyage. Photographs. Children having grown. Replacements. Generations emerging. An emptiness filling the room. Monitors blipping and beeping cryptic messages to telepathically inform him of missed opportunities. As numerous as stars in space. His wreckage an orbiting trail of wondrous debris. Compensations. Constellations. Coughing a last laugh, he began to lose his signal. His reception disassembling. Complete static by the time he reached warp speed. He winked at the pretty nurse as he slipped away. Taking with him the comfort in knowing his body was receiving the best medical treatment money could buy.
Excerpt from Light-Years in the Dark: StoryPoems (see more)
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