I turned thirty in the backseat of a taxi cab,
taking a long, meandering— out of the way
route home.
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.

written on 12/30/2010 by: Matt Kane