Plato’s symposium describes the wise old Sage as one who does not love knowledge, because he knows it, and love lacks the object it seeks. Laying here an invalid on this bed, I’m feeling much more the role of a philosopher. Why is it, that with everything I have learned, all I have done, and seen…that I still lack the object I seek? I’ve learned the world is harsh, but now it’s scarier than ever. I could defend myself then….I could get away….my voice was heard, like it or not…
These are just the rantings of an old man sweetie, you need not waste your time listening to them…but I thank you kindly if you hear me out. So few people listen when I speak anymore….I lost my mobility, not my mind, you know! Anyways….you sure are sweet for sitting with me. I never was a rich man…never really found love neither. I was the baby of the family with a good sized gap between be and the next oldest , you know, a big one….baby, gap, and family…heh heh…..yeah….I sure did love them….my nieces and nephews all grew up and had babies, grand-babies even, and I sure do miss them too. I never thought I’d live longer them….even though I was the baby, what with the hard life i lived in my youth, and all….heh heh….guess I really did pickle myself……yeah….there were a lot of fun times back then. I even worked as a vaudevillian performer….but….I didn’t have the look, and old age set in before I ever got anywhere….I was born here in Missouri, you know….I traveled around, but….never really made it out of here….
They don’t much like my kind here. Never did. I always thought we could change that….make people just let love exist, without objectifying it…by the time we finally accepted it as a nation, I was just too old and set in my ways to ever find someone. That’s….that’s why I’m in the bed alone…waiting to die.
I’m sorry honey, I don’t mean to bring you down. Please….you don’t have to sit here in this gloomy old room with me, you don’t even know me. I don’t want to be a bother, I’ll let you be on your way. You sure? If you insist, I sure do enjoy the company…they don’t talk to me much…I think I’m in the “too broke to pay, too alive to bury” wing.
You know, I wasn’t a complete waste of a human being….I had friends the world over, I saw some of the most amazing bands that ever existed, saw lots of natures beauty….had my fair share of the human form too, if you get my drift…heh heh…..just never found the right one.
When I got sick….I didn’t have health insurance…I could barely afford my home…they took that when I could still get around…..by the time the government stepped in, the disease riddling my bones had so far progressed that I was in a wheel chair that I never walked again. I’ve been in this room for 6 years….no, I’m sorry 7…..they don’t even take me for strolls down the hall, or to the dining hall for dinner. It get’s so lonely back here. I haven’t heard someone play music in years, and it aches my soul so.
The way they treat me…..it’s not right….at least when I was a kid the bully’s bruised who bruised my body, and called me names, they took pride in it……these people are vindictive snakes, lurking in the shadows to strike.
I’m sorry, you don’t need to hear this deary, nothing you can do about it anyways…I’m just a broke, old, helpless fag……that’s what the boy who delivers my food on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Fridays calls me as he sets my food tray just out of my reach. They wonder why I never drink my juice or milk, but no matter how many times I tell them I can’t open it, they always forget the next day.
It’s not everyone’s fault…..there are a lot of us old philosophers in here….they get so busy….but they often forget to turn me over…..I just don’t have the strength to do it myself, and it’s always been so hard to sleep on my back. Sometimes, when there are new workers, I hear the trainer whispering to them about me. Telling them I don’t have aids, so don’t worry to much….then they can’t look me in the eye, and tremble as they speak. One guy refused to clean me, and quit. I tell you, I haven’t had sex in 30 years, and I haven’t had the desire to in 20….I”m not some old pervert looking to play grab ass……i couldn’t get a hand full if I wanted too…heh heh. I would have killed myself already if I had that much strength.
I’m just a little black rainbow over here, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to make you cry….I hope it’s better for kids in your generation.
So, I try to pretend it doesn’t bother me and play nice, because the last time I tried to complain about that one night terror, Nurse Ratched, pulling on my catheter too hard changing the bag, the head nurse, she called me a mean old liar, and no one ever brought me my pain medicines that night…I just smile and wait to die. It’s hard to feel this helpless…to know that this time, you won’t find a way to stand up for yourself…..this time, it won’t get better.
I’m sorry, it’s been nearly an hour that I’ve been talking your ear off, you’d better get going home before it get’s too late, no sense in driving home in the dark if you don’t have to. You don’t have to stick around for me. Honey, no…I’ll be OK ..nothings killed me yet. Well, thank you. Are you sure you don’t want to talk about something else? something of the times, something hip. Oh, you don’t use that term anymore? ha ha ha *cough* …heh heh….guess I’ve been in here longer than I thought….”Old and In the Way”…..now I know what Jerry Garcia meant with that one…hehe….you like bluegrass? no, probably not. Oh really? In school, well…..glad to hear people still care for music.
Anyways, as I sit here waiting to die, pondering the meaning of life, and love…I feel like I just don’t know. I don’t know what to say that sums it all up. I am not the sage I once thought myself to be….I still love wisdom…..I till love love…….I’m just a broke old helpless fag. I can tell the guy across the hall doesn’t know your here…..he always yells when he hears people coming to my room….he warns them not to catch my queer sickness….tells them to watch their little boys…don’t let the faggot pack your fudge, he screams……..before they took his legs, he used to sneak in and clamp my oxygen off, pop the cork on my catheter bag and dump it on me……he is a mean man….I don’t hate anybody, or wish them hurt….but I’m glad that he can’t just walk in here anymore….I thank every God and Goddess ever praised that his wheelchair has a squeaky wheel and they hear him trying to leave the room…..sometimes they get too busy, or just don’t pay attention, and he gets in here….but he hasn’t been healing very well lately….he’s getting weak like me….can’t waste so much energy on mischief.
That’s it honey, I can’t sit here and sadden you so deeply. I just can’t remember much else to talk about, and that’s not your fault. Enough about me, what about you? Do you play music? You do?! What do you play? Oh my! What a thrill…I’m in the company of a multi-instrumentalist!! It’s been so long! OH, you sing too?! Please, dear, if it’s I haven’t asked too much already, could you sing me something? Any old tune will do…any new tune will do as well….heh heh…if it’s not too much? Oh your a shining light on my dark world. thank you.
I don’t mean to cry, please forgive me….it’s been so long since I’ve heard music. I’m not familiar with the song, but your voice is angelic dear, and I just loved it. If you play all those instruments half as well as you sing, you are going to go far young man. Just beautiful!
Oh! We woke up the grouch across the hall! You don’t need to hear that, go on home, thank you so much for visiting a lonely old man, I’m sorry I took so much of your time and made you sing….but I’m not sorry I heard it…heh heh. You know, I almost forgot I even had a door….they only draw the curtain around here…..oh, thank you for shutting it…he sounds so much better on the other side.
I’m starting to get a little tired…I’m just so weak….I haven’t had a conversation this long in ages. Listen…I just wanted to let you know how much the time you spent with me means to me. I haven’t been this happy since I was young and spy in my early 30s…heh heh…thank you, young man. You gave me one last song before I die, and that is the greatest gift anyone could ever give me. May your life be blessed with family, peace, and wisdom. Goodnight, sweet child. No need to come back tomorrow dear, I won’t have done too much exciting things between now, and then. Well, thank you darling. I would love it if you did play for me tomorrow, but you don’t have to go lugging a cello in here. Ok sweetie, goodnight, know peace.
“Uhm, Hi, I’m looking for the man who was in this room yesterday, do you know where he may have been taken? Is everything ok?”
“Well, I’m afraid he passed in his sleep last night. My condolences I wasn’t aware he had any family, or I would have contacted you……..if it helps….he had a smile on his face…..I’ve been here since the day he came in, and I haven’t ever seen that.”