Eye for the Prize
by Jay Coral
Old Joe sinks like a ship on his wing chair. His eyes bid hellos, but mostly goodbyes, to the moving expanse before him. He scopes the farm, blurry from the distance but fresh not too long ago when he thinks he can outrun the rainbow. He presses that field as if he is dancing in the ring; he tries to outlast the wind as if he is dodging those punches. He is a boxer on his last bout with nature’s teeth.
Kids say the foolish things. They make bets on the month that Old Joe will fold. February, his widowed heart will be eaten by a mongering cupid. November, he will overdose with turkey fat and meatloaf calories. Veteran’s Day, his life will be a fitting sacrifice to all the beaming folks out there. They chew dark humor and always cream it with a toast to their health.
Old Joe hides a wry smile even if he is already down for the count and secretly prays for the champion who will flatten him down. He doesn’t know about the running joke, but he is disappointingly proud to be the underdog.
Its inception mirrored back from the eye of a tipsy drinker, on one eye he was enjoying the gift of youthful follies and on the other he was looking at an old man in his chair, a good distance from the celebration, watched him with a blank expression. The disconnect between our ages and our thoughts sparked what would be the plot of this piece.
True to its setting, the farm possesses external and internal traits that support the main character’s role. As a foreground, it serves as a playground for petty stuffs and a model for a life of hard work, and as a background, it reminds us that freedom of carefree space comes with the price of using every inch it has to offer, both for economic and spiritual advantage, and as a side note, a certain poetic license that make us dream of our own paradise under the sun. For the old man to have that immensity before him is like Ansel Adams recapturing the glories of his exuberance again. He breathes the air, the same sweet air that is slowly closing in on him.
There is a vein of psychology that splinters in his senile mind, the one that says he is a couch potato waiting to be sacked. Having worked and lived with senior citizens, I replayed this thought a lot as if I sat on that death chair and I was contemplating my legacy and my purpose in life. Do we live long to feel more suffering and be a burden to our family? One may hear how one cheats death because one is a bad seed or because one still has an unfulfilled mission in life, but there is a leap here that I still cannot maturely understand. Every day I prepare myself to have that dignity in death and every day fate throws his curveballs to make me earn that dignity.
Jay Coral likes the word longetivity. He does not know why but he celebrates this mystery by drinking ginger tea in the evening. Unravel more of him on bluejayeye.blogspot.com.