I had no idea what his age was or what he looked like, but Rudy became one of my best friends. I imagine that he’s a pretty cool looking dude. You know, sunglasses, beard and the whole universe in the twinkle of his eyes. That sort of thing.
He would play songs meant to inspire and uplift any ears fortunate enough to hear. His passive nature passed through his voice in the things he’d say. He’d quote books on air and have fully fledged conversations with himself. He had no idea if anyone was on the receiving end, he just poured his soul into that microphone and didn’t care what anyone else thought of it. He became my hero. I was inspired. I was jealous.
He, of course, wasn’t the only one. People all over where sending out their own signals saying whatever they pleased. There were distant cries of pulling some sort of society trying to pull itself out of the ashes of the failed and with each day it grew. People began to exchange locations and found each other. There were people meeting for the first time that would have never even looked at each other in the world before. Everyone was equal at the end and so it seemed to stay.
I had never reached out, or at least not yet. I just mindfully listened and learned of the workings going on around me. People crave something to do. They wanted to rebuild and have something that they could call their own. They couldn’t see that the world didn’t belong to any one person. Still they sought each other. Humans crave contact and I was lucky enough to have good company. I’m sure that those circumstances don’t apply to everyone.
However, there is a comfort in all of this. There was life. There were other people besides my little realm of three. I haven’t seen another person in years, at least not one that welcomed me warmly. I suppose you can call the Garths human, but only in shape. I couldn’t go on a date with a Garth. I could hardly go on a date with a girl, when they were around. I suppose all my luck went into after the movie theaters and restaurants all burnt down.
“So it goes,” said Rudy at the precise moment he needed to.
“So it goes, my friend,” I replied to the very existential little radio.
“And to all of you little sentient beings out there who may have the privilege of thought, please indulge with me for a moment, the thought of this,” continued Rudy as the tune changed to Miles Davis. “We have a chance to make anything with our lives. Here, dig it like this. Before all the chaos, we were all held back. I’m not some tripped out hippie or anything like that, you just have to really think about all of the things from before. You were told that you could do anything, but could you really? Disney would toss us a few fairy tales that said we could and you would hear of legends and stories of old. People who took their fate and their success all by themselves. But how often did that happen, and how true is that even really? Now there is nothing and ipso facto, there is nothing in your way. Ah ha!”
Rudy had a great laugh. It wasn’t neither loud nor soft, but it always filled the speaker with such peace and could easily merry even the coldest of hearts.
“You see now, you can dream in real life. Have you always wanted to be a painter? So paint. Writer? Write. Singers can sing as loud as they want and no one can stop you. Go ahead, let me hear you sing. Better yet, let me hear you yell. Come on, I know if you can hear me, I must be able to hear you.”
I humored both Rudy and myself and yelled as loud as I could. It echoed throughout the room and scattered the birds that were so quietly perched upon the vast open window up above. They flew off and I laughed, and then Rudy yelled and laughed with me. It was a nice talk that he and I always have. After all, he is my best friend.
Now, this I wasn’t expecting. Again, I first dismissed it as madness as though they yelled had finally knocked the last screw loose and my mind was in free fall to insanity without making any stops. Then I heard it again.
“AHHHHHHH!” was the sound that fell through the open windows and bounced around in my hall. It rang for what seemed like a blissful eternity and seemed to shake the very fabric of existence.
And then came the laughter. It was the sweetest sound that I believe I had ever heard and have yet to hear still. Chills ran down my spine and suddenly I felt tremendously small. My thoughts fell from my grasp and into a warm orange glow. Images and sounds flooded to my mind that I had long forgotten and buried. My heart raced and there was not a single thing I could do to remove myself from where I sat, so I remained in shock for awhile.
“If you want to do something, you can,” interrupted Rudy. “And that’s it my man, that’s it. Here I am doing what I want, why aren’t you? And if you are, why don’t I know about it? It’s that, or die. In fact either way, someday you’re going to wind up being very dead, dig? Whether it is tomorrow or 20 years from now, you will someday die. So do what you want in the meantime, I mean shiiiittt. It’s now or never kids, so get up out of your chair and go see what’s out there. It might be something that you actually like”.
And so on Rudy’s command, I got up from my chair and walked towards the door. I didn’t even grab my gun. I didn’t even think to grab it as I went to the door but it was safe to assume whatever was out there wouldn’t kill me. It was laughing and anything that can laugh these days, doesn’t kill anyone.
I unlocked the superfluous array of locks on the front door and walked out into the light. Beyond the steps and on the other side of the park in the street were these crazy metal beasts that in my time, were called Winnebago’s. And running all about them, setting things up and starting fires, were these things that we used to call people.
Not all of the people were on the other side of the park though. There was one bouncing around on my side of the park. It was lying out on the grass with a radio like mine, tapping its toe and humming along. It was listening to Rudy and it was beautiful. It was a young woman. She had red hair and from all about her seemed to come this vast source of light that brought some sort of new sight to my eyes, but it was only the sun shining through the trees over her head.
I walked down the steps because I had to. I walked across the street and went into the park because I was supposed to. I walked up to her, but not too close. Just close enough so that I could introduce myself. It didn’t take her long to notice me, in fact it seemed as though she had been playfully watching me the whole time. I wouldn’t doubt if she did. She sat up and looked at me with beautiful green eyes. Her face glowed with warmth as a smile fell so gently and poetically upon her. It was all I could do to just stay standing, let alone raise my hand and speak. But I was supposed to, so I did. Clearly.
“Hello Sarah,” I said timidly with a romantic crack in my voice.
“Hell John,” She replied.
“What if you could finally get that chance to make all of your dreams come true? What if from the ruins of all around us, we finally got to understand life and love and why everything is as it is? Maybe it is all fate and set out before us. Maybe some things just happen and all we have to do is smile and say alright.
“Alright,” Sarah replied.
“Alright,” I said as I melted and went down the old sewer drain.