Flashing Lights



Flashing Lights


It’s late. No one is awake. Most folks in this retirement community are very old and have been asleep for hours, some for years. The ambulance is here. They didn’t use a siren. They come quietly. They know this place; they often come at night, sharp red and blue lights pulse irreverently against the palm trees. Sometimes they come on clear nights when the only light you expect to see is starlight; sometimes they come when it’s cloudy like tonight. The restless wind keeps tossing and turning. The moon is buried behind mountains of clouds. I’m sitting here alone watching the red and blue reflecting off my window. I have a lot of friends. I can’t say I know were they are. My beautiful wife is visiting family. I have a lot of friends, but tonight my heart feels like an empty mailbox. When you move as often as I have, your friends are rarely forwarded. I have Facebook friends. They are wonderful, tender, open-hearted and compassionate. They post their thoughts, share their dreams and talk about the difficult things they have to face each day. They are my heroes. They don’t quit; some get lost, but they don’t quit. Some share other people’s wisdom like cheap, boxed wine. Others know exactly how to age a thought, put it into words, and pour it slowly into your soul. Those are moments of true ecstasy.


I wish I could somehow work some special magic and meet them all right now. It would be nice to give some of them a hug and others a smile. I miss those times when I was in my twenties – the nights I would leave the porch light on and a pot of coffee brewing. Everyone knew they could drop in, stay a while or stay the night. I miss those intense all-night conversations and breakfast at four in the morning. Tonight I am lonely for a hug, a smile, a game of chess, and a song by Carol King. Tonight I miss the crispness of life. I miss feeling invincible. I miss old friends, family and a time when my body couldn’t imagine getting old. I guess I’m longing for the past, the way I remember  it


It is a good life. I am living it well. I am grateful for all that I have, but sometimes, I just feel lonely. I am not sad or depressed. I don’t need a drink or sympathy. My life is like a layered cake; it’s made of lots of things, and not every bite is sweet like frosting.


©  Robert Luckin

28 May 2013