The Man In The Blue Plastic Chair

By Isabella Eisenpresser

There is a man who sits alone, looking out at the complex of his town-home.

I live there too, and each day I walk by, not sure if I should say Hello, not sure what to do because I don’t want to be rude. He never looks up, the images in his mind a more vivid design then what the world has to offer him now.

He is slim, old and grim, his smile trapped within and his breath is full of smoke.

The ashes of his cigarette lay barren beneath his feet. I wonder what he thinks about. I wonder if he is happy. I don’t know who else lives there, I don’t know why I care, and when I walk by, I try to not stare at him. Sometimes I wave, and he glares at me like I am a child misbehaving. I don’t understand him, but I wish I did.

The lines of his face reflect the wisdom of his days, and I feel like he has all the answers.

Sitting in his blue plastic chair, his empty glazed gaze amazes me. I want to ask him about his life. Does he have children? A wife? I imagine the first time he met her, he forgot how to speak, how to breath. Maybe he was weak in the knees. Maybe that’s too romantic- perhaps he hated her and she annoyed him, but the sparkle in her as she grinned reminded him of his mother, so he loved her.

I can imagine his eyes that seem to have lost their glow, once were full of life, once carried innocence the way a moth carries shadows. Once held rebellion like a wasp that floats too closely to the pool. I can imagine him as a young man, tan and bouldering, wearing jean jackets and smoking dope in the back of  car with plush seats and barefooted feet.

Now his hair is thinning, his wife stopped grinning, and his children already left home.

His solemn solace now is that he is too tired to care anymore, so he sits alone, swimming in his cigarette smoke, in his blue plastic chair.