Robert Soldiered On
Robert was a soldier of the heart, tall and awkward, without power or complexity.
by S.MICHAEL DOWNS
Robert soldiered on through life.
Woman after woman looked through Robert never seeing him,
Nor caring to be seen by him. It was that bad.
There's a lid for every pot his dad would say.
Don't give up Robert, after all, what are the alternatives?
Robert rose each morning and forced himself through his daily routine.
All the things his Mother had taught him, brush your teeth, comb your hair, and wash under your arms if you don't have time for a proper bath.
All these things Robert did but he always wondered why.
For Robert spent his time alone.
There was no one to offend or appreciate his efforts, still Robert soldiered on.
Sometimes Robert went to the grocery store to buy a few things he really didn't need.
He went to look at Brianna the check out girl.
Brianna was beautiful by any measure and so she was treated as a prize and not as a person
Yo, Brianna, You got this in an extra large? The boys would shout grabbing at their crotches.
Wait, I'll get my tweezers and help you check it out, Bendaho! She would reply flipping them the bird.
Oooooh... psych you out! The boys would laugh and be on their way shuffling and nudging each other.
Robert stood meekly before Brianna clutching a magazine, some gum and a toothbrush
'Why, do they do that? ' She said out loud.
'Because they're afraid.' replied Robert.
'Afraid of what? Me? ' Brianna said as she bagged up Robert's items.
'What if they said something nice and you said something nice back, what would they do then? '
'They can't venture that far into their dreams. That's where you live, in their dreams.'
Robert stood staring into Brianna's deep blue eyes as she stared back at him without looking through him. Seeing him for the first time.
'That's sweet, what's your name? '
'Robert.' He replied.
'I'll tell you what Robert. I get off at six, how about you take me out? '
Robert smiled and picked up the package filled with things he did not need.
'No thanks, my dreams are perfect as they are and I can go there any time I want.'
And Robert soldiered on.