John Wayne’s Tears – April 11, 2012

A few weeks back I spent my morning at John Wayne airport, people watching and engaging in creativity. I wrote this short, short story while there.

John Wayne’s Tears


“Hey Pilgrim.”

I look up, searching for the person attached to this voice. No one. Just myself. I go back to reading.

A minute later.

“Excuse me ma’am.”

I look up and see, to my amazement, the statue in front of me speaking. To me. His body is frozen, caught mid-pace, but his stony face is alive, and trailing down his cheek, a lonely tear. He looks up at me, pleading with his eyes.

He is the strong, manly cowboy, the image of courage; tough as nails. And here he is, stuck in the marble palaces, while he was made for the country. His was a life of freedom, but now he cannot move, is forced to listen to the babbling of the masses as they go on their own adventures. The adventures he can no longer take part in.

I’m struck by the tragedy of the man who epitomizes the phrase “don’t fence me in”, and yet is captured in bronze, fenced in by marble columns and concrete parking structures, forever trapped in the airport he vehemently despised.

I look up again, feeling a new sense of sympathy and respect, as another tear rolls down.

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