Chuck was tired, so tired. His bones and joints ached; his skin sagged with age and it became leathery and it lost all its hair, except around the face. He was tired. Yet, he couldn’t sleep tonight. He was out on the patio sitting on his chair; there was a cigar in his hand, but it wasn’t lit, and there was a radio playing the blues. He had his hat on but lacked the boots, and he looked across the way, at the other chair, and he thought about his woman, but the chair was empty. It had been for the past few years, but he wasn’t sad about it. That wasn’t his way. He just wished she was still here, that’s all. He missed her but in a good way, because a good woman she was. He smiled and felt the music deep within. He closed his eyes and did as if playing the harmonica with his hands. Crickets harmonized. He stayed out there for a while, reckoned the moon a fair companion. He thought about his brother and his friends, and thought about how many days they had left. “We’re all old…” He thought to himself, as if that was something he never expected to actually happen. Something he feared for so long but now, it wasn’t so bad. He thought about the years in one’s life and how they pass and come to change. The man in the radio was going on about the previous song, and Chuck agreed; it was a good song.
“Al-right-folks it is now twelve-o-two and that marks the end of my show, but thank you so much for listening. Have a great Friday, and stay tuned for some more of Atlanta’s Heart of Blues Q. 100.“
Commercials come on, and Chuck looked away for a second, somewhere far beyond the treeline, then pulled up the cigar to his nose. He sniffed it as if trying to seduce it. In a snap he clipped the back of it and lit it. He puffed it a few times and played with the smoke as it slowly came out of his mouth. He licked his lips and enjoyed its flavor.
“Happy birthday, Chuck.” He said to himself.