I ran past you several times

I ran past you several times throughout these decades of the early 21st Century.
I ran past you when I was young and full of hair, smoke and drank every night because I didn’t care
Where life would take me. For, I was certain that somewhere
Up above, someone had deemed me extra-special.
I ran past you a few years later after both my world and your world had completely come apart.
My little brother gone, my first love living in our home with a strange man and my dog,
My country ready to worship the man it had mocked a year ago out of blind fear that terrorists might strike again at any minute, anywhere.
I ran past you recovering from this three-month bender, or that one, shaving my head the minute my hair displayed the slightest propensity for thinness.
I ran past you when I was certain that the next person I passed would be the love of my life,
And when I was sure that there was no such thing.
I ran past you when I got religion again and realized all my friends were atheists who hated Christ.
I ran past you when I could still dream that one of these nice homes could be mine,
And I, too, would one day conquer the bar scene before graduating to a larger bar scene market.
I ran past you when I was watching my dog then my mom die of cancer.
I ran past you with my new, young pup who arrived a few days after my old dog died and a few days before my mom got the last round of the really bad stuff.
I ran past you when I was certain I was too old for this town,
And on spring mornings when I decided I was still young enough.
I ran past you when I was full of confidence, or arrogance, or cockiness, or full of pessimism and negativity and full of a certain kind of darkness that supplants all sense of any self worth.
I ran past you when I was certain that I had discovered my life calling, and when I was certain that my life was mostly over.
I ran past you when I was getting out in the community and helping others, and when I was barely able to get out of bed at all.
I ran past you thinking you might smile back, and most of the time, you did not.
I ran past you wondering what kind of world was inside of your head, but I was too shy and ignorant to know how to encounter that world.
I ran past you one morning when I was back in town after being away for three years in a smaller market for those who’d failed to conquer this one.
You didn’t recognize me, and I barely recognized you.
You were always this weird non-city, non-town, too cool for me, not cool enough, too hot, too hip, oddly inviting at weird angles displaying all that was Texan and gritty about you even as you asserted your independence from all that was Texas.
I finally realized that I was too Midwestern, the Missouri was in me too much.
In spite of my great longing to return to Colorado and the mountains, the place of my birth, or Florida and the south, the beaches of idyllic childhood moments, or my longings to leave for a busy coastal city like New York where the world would know for once and for good that I was every bit as important and somebody as any of the other millions of people walking her streets–
In spite of all these longings to be in these places, or the inevitable conclusion that you have me in your grip by dint of some strange force field, some baffling curse…
I am not for you, you are not for me–neither is the south, southeast, southwest, northwest, northeast, coastal cities, big cities, important cities, places of great culture and art, and perennial somebodyness–
I am a Midwestern boy, trapped inside a real, middle-age nowhere man’s body.

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