"Look at me! I'm 59 now and 30 years just passed by...Don't you ever have any regrets!"
I was shocked. Mr. Roper, who had been cracking jokes in the barbershop for the past hour, suddenly just broke down in front of me. I'll never forget those sorrowful eyes staring straight into mine...tears of regret.
I was staying in an Airbnb in Queens (NYC), which was conveniently located next to a barbershop and where some of the Airbnb guests hung out at night. What a magical place. You could smell the history of Queens and NYC envelop you the moment you walked. A flashback in time from the antiquated black-and-white photos to the chairs that stood the test of time. Mr. Roper was a storyteller who captivated us with his life stories in the 1960s...from the social movements that brewed to the crack era...it was the type of stories one could only imagine, especially being seated in a 100-year old family-run barbershop.
....but then it turned somber. Mr. Roper suddenly grabbed me by the arm and looked me in the eye with the most remorseful look...
"Time, man! Time just passes! Look at me! I'm 59 now and 30 years just passed. Look at ya'll. Still so young...but this is what you should be doing! Traveling...don't you ever have any regrets!"
Dead silence. While many of his stories were jovial in nature, Mr. Roper did express many regrets (that I won't go into). We continued listening, comforting, and thanking him for his hospitality and when the night was over, Mr. Roper gave me a firm good-bye handshake...
"I'm so glad ya'll came. Don't you ever forget about the time."
And that was good-bye. But it's a lesson and a stare I'll never forget. Thanks for the lesson, Mr. Roper...I won't forget about the time.