Oct 20, 2017, 08:55AM

Flowers and Stems

Rooster keeps his claws to himself.

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It’s a long way to get back home. Today is my birthday—October 20—and I’m celebrating, Rooster Style. My wife and I will go to dinner, eat corn by the fire, and then watch a light comedy to fall asleep to (we’re thinking Cries and Whispers). I don’t relish birthdays as I once did, and I’m long past the point where it becomes impolite to discuss the number that only goes up until it stops. I remember in my youth all was splendor and Shirley Temples: gifts that overflowed the hearth, and meals of a dozen courses, bread baked and broken. I have no regrets. I have been everywhere, and seen everything. I’ve had caviar in Cannes. I’ve seen the Danube at dusk. I’ve been to Babylon and back and eaten too much beef and cheese for my own good (I can’t help natural prejudices, surely you understand).

Word is on the street is that the streets are hot tonight, and I couldn’t be happier.

But get off my cloud. Leave me alone. Every seventh or eighth person I let into the bubble blows it up and makes me see the world outside. No. I don’t need to see the land of oblivion and despair. My own little corner is a perfect place to be, and I keep it exclusive. To each their own, but not their own facts. I can’t trust them—and then the ones that spill the Dixie cups in the bubble. You think you know a person and then they go and spill their porridge on the floor and suddenly they have a Ketamine addiction. It’s just not right. I’m tired of all this nonsense around me, it’s the reason I got the bubble in the first place, why else would I go to such lengths to build something so big and so insular? The cost is fine—less than you’d expect—but what of the cost to my soul? My mental health? Isn’t that the term these days? I forget which “issue” week we’re in.

I was walking down the street yesterday and saw a robin. I’ve known many of the fairer type of our species through my life, but not this one. They were hurt—a sprained ankle. I went to help and just as I bent down next to them, they flew away. I never got their name. But down came a wail of vast sadness and pain I’m unable to properly articulate here. Maybe it’s best to leave it at that. I saw feathers float down and get swept away into the wind. Gray dust flowers, the sky an alabaster eye, looking down on us all. I thought about today and how happy I am to be home. As my colleague wrote the other day, you can live at home.

I’ll be here for a while, in my bubble. No one is invited. There will be no ceremony or light—only flowers and stems.

—Follow Rooster Quibbits on Twitter: @RoosterQuibbits


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