I turned thirty in the backseat of a taxi cab,
taking a long, meandering— out of the way
The driver made sure to brake like a coward at
at least three yellows. Nobody was around.
I watched the meter rise to midnight—
as we pulled up to my destination.
This ride should have cost half that, I thought.
I pulled out my last twenty and handed it to him.
“I know your game,” I said, “but go on and keep the change.
Those backstreets were beautiful— much more interesting
than the expressway.”
The driver looked surprised— thanking me for the $8 tip—
going as far as to bless me. I got out and shut the door on him.
I was happy that ride was over.
Half of that time was a waste, but still well worth the wait.
I walked into my apartment, poured myself a drink,
and stood before the bathroom mirror. I looked no different,
so I decided to shave my beard off. Then, the phone rang.
“HAPPY BIRTHDAY,” she sang.
Six weeks later, my beard has never been longer.
The itch to shave went away.