The Man in Flagstaff, Arizona

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10 hours and 23 minutes to be exact
One state from my home state
The golden state miles behind me
I flee my hometown in dire need to escape
I am traveling east without a destination
Sleep creeps into the back of my mind
Faint red veins peek out from the whites of eyes
Vibrant blue sky no fluffy white cloud in sight
Flagstaff, Arizona welcomed me with fresh pine
Pine from the Ponderosa pine forests that
Surround the northern city
I'm awake
Right of East Route 66 is a Starbucks I turn my car in
Light from the Arizona sun shines through every stain glass window
The Starbucks was light and open as if it were apart of the sun
A man was holding the local newspaper at a complete 90 degree angle
The Arizona Daily Sun titled the paper
With him was a cup of dark roast and a pastry
He sat with his back all the way to his seat he appeared to be in his late 40’s
His thin gold rectangle frame glasses hung off the tip of his nose
I conversed with the stranger he lifted his chest and pushed his shoulders back
The man claimed he was a local hiker
Not once did the man stop smiling it was genuine each time his smile reached his eyes
Eyes a particular light brown like the desert sands that covered the city
He leaned forward to tell me
The time he hiked Fatmans Loop Trail.
He quickly sipped his coffee before beginning his tale
Pushed up his frames only then for them to slide back down
Waving his hands he described the sly grey foxes and their almond shaped eyes the way
The mule deer meander throughout the trail oblivious to hikers
Throughout the entire hike one could hear stellar jays chirping to one another
With a light chuckle he joked, “Probably laughing at us older hikers.”
When he spoke it was as if he was coming alive for the first time
Like the beginning of a new day
Radiating energy and light with each word he spoke
Winded he paused and took another sip of his coffee
With no anticipation of stopping He described the trail’s rock formations
From Mt. Elden’s volcanic origins clasping his hands
He looked down at them and nodded reminicincing his past
Time had gone by quickly I told the man I should be headed on my way
He smiled and nodded saying, “of course!”
But his smile didn’t reach his light brown eyes
With a small wave I left the man alone with his empty coffee and half eaten pastry
I stopped outside the building I became aware
I never got the man’s name
He sees me come back and I remember
The warmth of the genuine smile
His desert colored eyes once more
He responds with a light chuckle
“Call me Sunny!”


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