He rests his head on the cold concrete floor, eyes drooped half open and stairing blankly at the narrow gap below the door. He sees the shadows of feet walking by and he feels uneasy and nauseous. It's been one hell of a day today on the battleground inside his mind, history racing back and forth from one thought to the next. It's not just any history, it's his.
He wears his ear buds with one ear plugged in. The soundtrack of his life scrolls by, note by note as it shuffles from one track to the next. Willie Nelson's distinctive voice carries the words, "... now you wear your skin like iron and your breath is hard as kerosene. Weren't your momma's only boy, but her favorite one it seems..." and he tries hard to remember what childhood memory came with Pancho and Lefty. Surely it was in a car ride in the desert somewhere between Barstow and Bullhead City. So long ago, long before he lost them both. So free ago...
The battle ensues to recall the better times, the times of road trips with mom and dad and the way those notes were etched into his mind. He believes the music is still relevant, the western ballads in western deserts, the clear skies in that part of his history, the soundtrack transports him. As the nausea subsides, it's time to stand and dust off the remnants of the floating parts of this prison, the dusty parts that ride the concrete like the rails in songs about vagabonds.
The battleground has shifted over time, from one conflict to the next, and it has stretched from here to hell and back again, but it's always the music that transports him to the next fight. Right now he's exhausted and ground down from the day's war inside himself. "Lord, dry these tears and let these battles be done. Just let the music play," he prays. Someday it will... Someday...
by Rory Andes
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