Freedom

From inside the music faintly echoes
on the terrace, people moving
constantly, either walking, talking,
reading or drinking, busy. Business
in the steps of any woman with
the whitest dress, pointing at an
item in the store to show her daughter
in the lesser white, never halting,
never altering her stride of purpose.
Business in the faces of the women
on the terrace, choosing all their drinks,
and the man with his book always
knows what to do, counts the pages,
plans his breaks for cigarettes,
and he knows just what to think
of this and that. Business in the faces
of the tourists, cameras in hand,
with the wonder that they planned
to spend, in that exact amount
and pace. Always moving point
to point, thought to thought, drink
to drink, one place to the next,
all the moves are equally legitimate,
all time spent accounted for.
All the movements are by choice,
doing what they want to do,
but the moving doesn’t seem
to let the slightest space, the slightest
crack for freedom to shine through.
Freedom comes when you don’t know
just what to do, and vacant time may
pull the ground from under you,
as you lose traction and are left
without immediate direction.
Freedom makes you nervous when
you don’t know if it ever ends.
And only as you realize when
you will have something to do again,
only then can you withstand
the gap that you have now turned
into boredom, which is nothing but
the freedom to wait for direction.
A bell rings from the kitchen, and
in her busy grace the waitress
makes her way inside. She’s working
hard but quite unlike the others
she is doing more than what she does,
she walks back out, her eyes adrift,
her gaze displaced from that which is
to what might be, a smile breaks out,
tearing a ripple through the fabric
of the scene, shattering the moment,
clearing the way for any new reality,
in any moment that may be but
that is now still possible, absolutely
possible, and until then her smile
will be the only thing that’s real.