Friday, February 16, 2007

A Lonely, Old Man

Created: December 07, 2006

It was raining. I frowned, livid by the fact that I was going to get soaked, yet again.

I walked into the room and there he was. Sitting in the corner chatting. He looked his usual self, dressed as though time had stopped thirty years ago. This was supposed to be easy. In and out. A quick escape in order to go back to the ruckus of studying for exams the next week.

As the others filed in, we realized that the six of us didn’t constitute the requirement for continuation. He insisted that we did, much to our chagrin. We tried to accelerate the pace in order to stunt the inevitable boredom. It was futile. He had determined that he was going to keep us there as long as he was legally permitted to do so.

I was angry at first. Angry that he could be so vindictive. He KNEW we had exams. Why was he doing this?

Anger turned into acceptance that I could do nothing about the situation. Acceptance gradually turned into a realization that this was an act, not of venom, malice or hate.

He was divorced. He spent his week looking forward to this day. He prepared more for it than all of us combined. He had no children, and I suspect that he regretted it. Today was the last day for the next two months that we were going to see him.

His melancholy existence was not apparent until he spoke. He was an enigma. Surrounded by many yet lonely. He spoke to many, but not with many. He knew many, but he did not know them.

Fourteen people every week. It was his form of decampment from a cursed reality.

And while we continued his spirits visibly lifted and for that time, he had a reason for living. It was one experience gained, rather than three hours wasted.

We finished and I walked out the door. It was raining. I frowned, still livid that I was going to get wet.

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