I met him on the staircase,
Underneath a portrait of Richard III.
He looked up as I was set to pass him and
Smiled as if I knew him.
As if we had unfinished sentences to share.
He bade me to sit.
I had nothing else to do; I was only going to layer my lung with tar,
So I sat.
“Boy, you’re too tied up.
Too tied up in yourself to see the bigger picture.”
He didn’t tell me this with fury.
No, no fury at all.
He didn’t pass this to me out of disappointment.
He told me like he was giving me a gift.
Like an uncle giving a selection box at Christmas.
A selection box filllllled with chocolate
That I had never tasted
Out of ignorance.
He asked me
“Do you see?”
And do you know
“You need to reach forward with your mind,” he told me. “Reach like I never could. Because, boy, life is over before you even begin to taste it on your tongue. You got to leave your heart when your gone. Don’t let them bury it with your bones. You hear?”
He bowed twice and thanked me once;
A genuine thank you, like the words he’d shared had relieved him of an eternal burden, before
Laughing lightly and then fading into the stair carpet.
Life can be a funny old thing can’t it?