Night times are always the worst. It’s just you and your battle scars, the ones inside and out, on a motorcycle riding aimlessly in desperate search of dawn. On your right arm are the burns from fiddling with things and brushing against your exhaust pipes. On your left arm are the bandages that cover the cuts from your last spill, when you went out to buy her flowers. The cuts she cleaned out with hydrogen peroxide. The cuts she took care of. Or did she? When was the last time there was someone there to care of you?
You’re a man now, aren’t you? You pick up the trimmer for a midnight shave just to pass the time. Just to avoid your cell phone. Just to avoid all of the numbers of all of the people you shouldn’t call. Most of them women. Some of them “buddies”. You think of a Judas or two you’d like to call out. Nothing good can come from of this. Leave the phone in the next room. It’s 2:45 AM. Better you shave instead. At least it’s something to do.
In the mirror is the shirtless body of the stranger. He looks like you, but a short hair cut reveals all of the grey hairs that have been earned over the years. The stranger has bags under his eyes, eyes edged with crow’s feet. This stranger looks as though he’s had his fill of ups and downs. He’s tasted his first tastes and dabbled in his addictions. All of those things which would eventually become both his good and his bad habits. They say your greatness must exceed that which you’ve suffered. Well, does it?
The motorcycle is parked in the garage. It never used to miss a shift, until tonight, suddenly Neutral was much more pronounced between first gear and second gear than it used to be. Is the bike beginning to wind down, or is it you? Are you growing more tired, more aware of being alone, more likely to miss-shift? Or is everything just starting to wear out?
There’s a picture of you with your father on your desk and another on your wall. He’s gone now. You were a palm bearer. You wrote and read his eulogy. And long before that you were with him every day, day and night, watching him lose a little more of himself. It still hurts, today more than most days. You were twenty three years old when he passed. How old are you now?
Some wounds take years to heal… and nights like these tear the scab off. You have absolutely no desire to ride your motorcycle, or to do anything, other than snuggle up with a woman who will show you some love and tenderness. Any woman. Who will show you some love and tenderness?
Given a couple days you’ll be yourself again. You’ll watch the stranger in the mirror fade away. He’ll be replaced with your own reflection, again, soon. But right now you are that shadow of yourself. You are one that one big, walking, ball of hurt.
There will be no more riding today.
Tonight I miss my father terribly. I love you, Dad. Happy birthday.