On a bitter cold November night, Theo Valerian met his youngest son for the first time, and never even realized it.
It was a little past midnight, on November 6th, just seven weeks shy of Christmas. The play he'd had tickets to for over a month, a rendition of Shakespeare's As you like it, had just finished up its seasonal run. Hoping to beat the rush, he'd left early, just minutes before the end of the last act.
He'd always liked this particular play, especially Act 2, Scene 7:
‘...All the worlds a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.
They have their exits and entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts.'
For some reason that last line had always intrigued him, ‘and one man in his time plays many parts.'
‘How true.' he thought. In a world where men wear masks eight to ten hours a day, some throughout their entire lives, we often play many parts. As husbands and sons, homemakers and breadwinners, each adding his own line to that grand production we call ‘Life'!
Pulling the collar of his jacket a little tighter, in an effort to ward off a brisk northern breeze, he joined the select few, just like him, who were eager to beat the rush, in a bid to make their way home.
The city streets, even at this late hour, were still bustling with life. From shoppers to sightseers, en mass or alone, the city that never sleeps, maintained its reputation. Lining an asphalt river, ablaze with color and motion, wall to wall yellow taxis, all with their ‘I'm vacant, riders wanted', signs turned on. But he wouldn't be taking one of these; no, he preferred the old fashioned route, the one called ‘on foot'! After all, he only lived a couple of blocks away.
‘Very bourgeois, I'm sure.' He thought. In this age of mass transit, and ever shrinking windows of personal time, trudging ones way to and from work, or any place for that matter, seldom involved using ones feet! "And yet," he chuckled, "we'll spend millions this year on fad diets and pills, liposuction and therapy, anything to beat that middle age spread."
‘Where has the Age of Reason gone to?' he wondered.
On a whim, and sidestepping a couple in their late eighties, he reached out to open a taxi's rear door. The wife, all wrapped up like a poodle in her pale chinchilla fur coat, with blue hair and overly applied makeup, clearly seemed offended. She was about to rebuke him, until she realized that, instead of stealing the cab they'd been edging towards, here was a gentlemen, a sight rarely seen nowadays, offering the warmth and comfort of quick ride home, to her and her husband instead.
"Why, thank you young man." For the moment, at least in this man's case, she'd have to revise her embittered image of lower Manhattan. "It seems as if the age of chivalry has not perished after all!"
With a quick smile, and a proffered hand, he helped the two into their cab and on their way, just as the first flakes of snow began to fall.
‘Not a moment too soon.' Though it did appear, that by the time he finally arrived at his apartment, a whispering wall of white would be accompanying him.
Steeling himself against the long walk back, he began to wind his way through the quickly thinning crowds, as the increasingly heavy flakes began to obscure both face and form, around him.
Winter in New York City.