It would be the vagabond life for me.
That romantic hobo scene from an old time movie, the bag of worldly possessions slung over the shoulder on a stick, a Red Skelton, upturned, pork pie hat and half spent cigar held by fingerless gloves.
Each day to be something precious, held close, examined like a diamond in the palm of your hand.
Mama, her plate of mostly finished ham and egg dish tidied to the side, surveys the crowd of older folks come to the hall for breakfast, “People just get smaller”, she says as she arranges her orange juice for the fourth time.
True enough, seems we just fade, some go up in flames of course, but for the most part we become shadows, mere outlines of ourselves, held in place only by this fragile organic container.
Once in the 60’s, we had a Chinese fellow living with us, Pop’s scheme for a steady restaurant labor supply, he run off after setting our overstuffed chair afire with his cigarettes.
Yet, I see him there still, young, lanky with sharp almond eyes, ink black hair, and long delicate fingers, lost among a sea of strangers, our big yellow chair his life raft, a curl of cigarette smoke rising above his head, watching me.