Archive for March, 2016

Dear Old Man

Dear old man,

I’d never call you old man. Never would. I saw you advance to the stone street, a miniature version of your former self, hunched, stepping forward inch by inch in oversized shoes, one eye shut as if you were winking at me, your hand grasping the metal railing and your grey sweater vest covering an untucked pinstriped shirt.

I asked if I could help you with you bag. What was in there? It wasn’t laundry or groceries, perhaps it was a paper or something you had clipped like coupons, or was it birdseed -why on earth would you have bird seed?

Where were you going and why didn’t you accept my help?¬†And I hope, humbly, that I did not offend you by asking. I wish I could have bought you coffee and you would share your story with me.

I suppose this type of intimacy is earned. Seeing you hesitate before crossing the street made me want to flatten myself before you and become invisible, or bow my head near your gray Velcro sneakers in an act of supplication.

If we met, as men, I’d ask you questions I wish I could ask my grandfather. Questions about the war which he never answered. Questions about marriage which he never answered. And sadly, I couldn’t tell whether there was a ring on your hand because I forgot to look.

I’d never call you old man, I know there is vibrancy your frame now inching¬†its way into my heart, unable to cross the street and unwilling to take my hand.

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