“Lock and Keystone”
He walks wistfully along the sidewalk every day; his ancient skin like a frail, renaissance tablet, never restored to be properly read. He says very little, but his eyes say it all. He stares at the woman behind the counter at the local Sheetz, as she fetches his little cigars, which he’ll later toke lazily on his apartment steps out back of the Brown (a local hipster joint.) If you catch him on a particularly bright morning, you can hear him practicing his whistle; perfectly sweet, like a songbird. He’s a local celebrity to many quiet admirers. There are many different kinds of celebrities.
The preacher who stands by the tree in the oak grove, shouting his beliefs condemningly; he’s not. There’s no dark presence, like the men of the banks, and the bar chain owners, who walk by in black coats; the Sen. Smiths, and the Mister Potters to Indiana’s natural George Bailey vibe. He is the old grade school janitor, a man who watches everyone who’s lived in this town, the ones not just here for a quick college pass. He knows secrets that may never pass further than his lips, and remembers every face he sees. You can just tell it.
In seclusion, we jest of his godliness; the server from Sheetz and I, as we stare into each other’s eyes. We both understand in our own ways. For me, he’s a Bodhisattva. That is to say, he was put hear by the hands of fate to serve as some inspiration to the everyday working class. Because when you look in his eyes, you can tell that he’s content. He is everybody, and he’s no one at all, and though some have seen him a thousand times and never really noticed him, we, the thoughtful and intelligent members of this society came together in the wake of his death to have him rebuilt. Although in life, no one ever paid the nominal fee that those at Life Tech request to compensate the work done, enough outdoor footage of the old janitor was caught from other cameras placed about the community to recreate a near lifelike replica.
I personally find this replica to be a repulsive reminder of a beautiful man. Sure, they got the whistle down, and his presence is obvious. In some way, some may find it intriguing still to admire his paper skin, and the way his cigars match perfectly with the tint of his skin, and his old winter hat, equally dark, and leathery. His whistle is still both innocent, and full of wisdom, but the eyes… there’s nothing left to the girl behind the counter serving him. Just a simple nod, and a “thank you.”
His eyes are empty.