Years Only Happen Here Now

by Jaxon Bradshaw

Editor's note: 'Years Only Happen Here Now' was the fourth piece published in our Smoking Under the Mistletoe series in December 2016. The series also includes 'The Christmas of '96' by Lis Stanford and 'Childhood Wasteland' by Isabelle McCauley, and 'A Letter From Rudolf' by Rachel Sheldon.

There was a diner I passed by the other day

Filled with families and eccentrics

And everyone looked perfectly fulfilled

By the coffee in their hands.


I stood there for a moment

And felt years slipping by

With each sip they took.


I noticed two more diners on Broadway as I walked

And I thought about stopping in each one

But then a cold gust of wind

Would hit me in the face

And remind me of those screaming zeroes

That plagued my bank account.


I knew that soon I would be on a plane

Heading back to spend time

With family and friends around a table

With a cup of coffee

And it would all be free.

But each sip would only be a minute

And after fifteen or so

I would be done.

My conversation would come to a gentle end

And I would take off,

Yet again,

To come home.


It became clear to me,

As I felt my face freeze over

And my hands go numb,

That I may go back there—

At least for a while—

But that time would still be

Counted in minutes.   


Years only happen here now.


Thumbnail image by Evelyn Stetzer.