This is one thing I have learned to be true.
There’s a certain wisdom acquired when one learns to surrender. The acceptance of the hand fate’s dealt breeds humility.
Control is a raging, frothing animal with serrated jaws and a very short tail to hold it by. It is always hungry and frequently needs to be fed. So one can never truly have control; you’re just holding it for the moment, until its stomach growls and it feels the need for satiation.
Standing on that busy street, under smog choked stars and amidst the hustle and bustle of city life, I knew there were still people who felt compelled to grab that tiger by the tail and hold on, despite the most certain death that awaited them when that beast became determined to swallow them whole.
My wife, for example, took it especially hard when the doctor mouthed the words “prostate” and “inoperable.” Earlier that year, I was given a certain amount of time left and she didn’t handle it well. Life doesn’t work like in the movies. Strong people can quickly become weak, and those who once promised you forever can be traumatized into reconsideration.
My cancer chased my wife into hiding and the week before my Happy Hour was the last time I saw her. She would eventually move out, promising to still be there for me if I needed.
I miss my wife, but that was the moment she had given up and died. Ironically, it was at that moment that I made the decision to not.
There were things I still had to do, places I still wanted to go, people I had still wanted to meet, in bars and restaurants, drinking high-priced liquor discussing topics long-thought important, only to find that they’re actually as superficial, flat and vapid as anyone else. That night, all at once, I felt disgusting, and treacherous, and victorious and free; free of inhibitions, reluctance and regret. I was free of death, free of fear, free from the fear of fear — free from the perpetual drag of a biting and clawing control.
I imagine Samirah made it home safely. I never found out, but I hope that night brought her to similar conclusions. I like to imagine she went home and took control back from whoever gave her those bruises. I imagine she never again permed her hair.
None of the guys from that night spoke to me again. I don’t think it had anything to do with me skipping out on the bill, I honestly think they all just forgot I was ever there.
And that’s okay.
Truth be told, I had long tired of fighting that beast. So fuck him. Let him run his way, I’ll go mine. There’s plenty of room in this damned world for the both of us. And if we should ever again cross paths and I get him in my clutches, I’ll be much more respectful.
Until then and for the time being, I’ll be happy to simply buzz about, unrestrained and unyoked, traveling through the crowded night air among the hapless nymphs and wood sprites, wherever the passing winds take us for as long as this life allows.
is a freelance writer who lives, writes, and drinks in Baltimore, MD. His professional works have appeared in regional, national, and international publications focusing on transportation, travel, sports, politics, and culture.