With a shaking wrinkled hand and obvious pride the elderly gentleman slowly smoothed his silvery, thinning hair over his sun scarred scalp. He adjusted his thick lensed glasses, straightened the collar of his brown and beige old man’s knitted polo shirt, and brushed down the lap of his matching polyester trousers. He sat tall and proud in his chair, chin jutted majestically forward and chest lifted. You could see the young man he once was.
Proud, strong, confident, intelligent, determined. Sure, his skin was wrinkled and his hair thinned to just a few stubborn grey strands, but his eyes told you another story. The steely blue-grey gaze was a startling reminder of the sharp mind still active behind those eyes. He may have the majority of his years behind him but, with that time, comes experience, knowledge and understanding. He’s seen a lot, done just as much and has gained an education that can only be attained by longevity and time served truly living.
It’s only the deterioration of his body that is letting him down, the rot that begins with your first breath and slowly accelerates. I don’t think he could kick the football anymore or make love for hours and hours to his special chosen one. Late night benders are long gone now too, but he did all of this once upon a time.
As I watch him tentatively rise from the chair and slowly shuffle, posture hunched forward, to the door I am filled with a mix of sadness and admiration. I will remember him because he is my future and I am his past. He has hopes and dreams but less time to fulfill them. He loves, he laughs and he feels.
He is still like me, or you.