I always listen

He was older than me
by a good eight years

he felt worthy to give me life
advice

I agreed.
It’s my personal rule. Never turn away
from a tale. Listen to anything
and everyone when they’re willing to share.
Following the advice is another
matter
but listening to it I shall.

And I did
all ears

and he told me
“Never overdose on solitude, my boy. Never
overdose on solitude.
You might think it’s cool and all
to play the lone wolf character
and all that
but a time will come when you will
regret this deeply, oh so, so deeply.
You will regret it to suicide and beyond.
And the regret will set in gradually
with old age.
It always does.
When I was like you, in my twenties, I hated
the world and loved
spending time
with myself. It’s all I did
for so many years.
And look at me now...”

“You don’t look too bad,” I told him.

His smile was sad. “My boy, I’m ‘bout to
hang myself tonight, after this beer,
in my lonely room, with a power cord I fixed
to the ceiling. My most productive deed
in the past two years.”

I raised my beer. “Cheers.”

He didn’t hang himself that night.
Just got very drunk and
passed out on his dirty bed. It wasn’t
the first time he threatened to do it.
I knew he wouldn’t do it.

As long as I listen to his stories
he won’t do it

And I always listen.

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