Cutting A Man Loose

Afternoon strolls, always a favorite pastime of mine,

Sunnies on, head up, no chitchat, nothing to break my strides,

Saw him from the corner of my eye, out and about on his lonesome,

A significant figure from my past, been almost twenty since we saw each other last,

Had to do a double take, surely these eyes must be tricking,

Not much ‘bout him changed, save for some subtle signs of ageing,

Some greys here and there, lines near the eyes, hadn’t seen him since graduation,

That’s more than twenty years, I wonder if he remembers who I am?

Only one way to find out, gonna run up on this dude,

It’s now or never, excuse the attitude, hope he won’t think I’m crude.

“Hey, Bud. Remember me?”

A smile spread across his features, this surely was a random encounter,

“Hey, how’ve you been? So good to see you,”

“Ain’t nothing changed, Brother, seems like the same for you too,”

We walked for a while, exchanging war stories from our lives,

Sat down on a bench eventually, chopped it up ‘til the sun started disappearing,

Seemed like old times once more, but then it occurred to me,

Something different about him now, of the type rather sad and melancholy,

Change is inevitable, no one is spared,

It’ll do its work as the time passes, better go with it or be left in the ashes,

But it ain’t always sunshine and rainbows, the good and the bad come together,

Enhancing some aspect of our lives while deteriorating others,

In his case he seemed to have it all, working his dream job and generally having a ball,

But his demeanour seemed unfamiliar, at least from the kid that I’d known before.

He was positivity personified during years past,

Up for fun and laughs at the drop of a hat, couldn’t get cooler than that,

In the present he seems bitter, not talking so much as ranting,

Harbouring bitterness and hatred in seemingly equal measures,

Seemingly contemptuous at what once set his soul aflame,

Sure, we acquire knowledge and changed interests along the way, from birth ‘til death we rarely stay the same,

The contrast, still, of the past and the present was kind of sad and disturbing,

‘Is this really the same dude? Or just someone with more than a passing resemblance?’

Still, we continued to converse, most of it spent reminiscing on the past,

Every once in a while bursting into fits of belly laughs.

Time flew, soon it was time to get going,

Agreed to meet up again but such sentiments seem to mean nothing,

Life gets busy after all, we keep moving different directions,

We may cross paths again but fat chance of that happening,

Probably for the best, what I’d learned about him left me kinda depressed,

What happened to my friend? From sunshine to cloud the dude fell off the deep end,

Once upon a time could talk to him about anything,

At times found myself tip-toeing ‘round eggshells during our little reunion,

Was tempted to ask him what brought about this transformation,

But better to leave the proverbial can closed, don’t want to clean up the contents,

If this is it then perhaps it’s best to wish him well, even if we’re strangers once more,

Hold on tight to memories of when we were small, teammates and brothers of sorts.

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