Story of an Elderly Man

The room was slowly sinking into the darkness. The shapes of the objects were losing their definition, and the setting sun rays that hardly touched the windowsill were slightly illuminating a figure, sitting opposite the window and being wrapped up in a woolen plaid. The man was far not young. It was hard to determine his age as the life left a deep imprint on his face. He was pensively looking into the distance, and his eyes reflected either deep sadness or cool tranquility. The eyes… Once sky-blue, now they were bearing the color of pale winter mornings. Yet, the look was not cold at all. His eyesight also was not as sharp as before. This could be judged by a pair of glasses lying on the bookshelf. The man's look was wandering through the buildings and trees on the other side of the road, but it seemed that he did not see what was going on outside because he was thinking about his own secrets. Obsessed with dreams, the man bent his head to the shoulder, and one could notice a deep scar on the left cheek, closer to the ear. The scar did not hurt anymore, however, it remained an everlasting memory about his young, yet far not happy years. The man spent his best years on the war field fighting for life and hope, where he caught the bound shot. It was the moment of truth, when one millimeter decided whether he was destined to live or die.

Man's forehead was totally covered with deep wrinkles, which were as uneven as his turbulent life. Bushy grey brows, frowned from time to time, made these wrinkles even deeper, and all this gave the man's face rather a strict expression. His pointy face was framed with short thinning hair, and one could notice a small bald spot on the top of the head. His side whiskers that began on the temples were coming down to an accurate small beard, which he was stroking once in a while. It was possible to see a little mole on the outer side of the eye. The mole was creating an optical illusion that made one think that the man was screwing up his eyes.

Cool fall wind blew into his senile face, and the man stertorously filled his chest with the fresh air. Spinning in the wind, a yellow and red maple leaf fell on the windowsill and stopped only when it touched the hand. The man carefully seized it with his thin fingers covered with bumps, which were signs of long progressing arthritis. With these hands, he could now pick up nothing heavier than a cup of tea. However, in due time it seemed like he could move the mountains with them. Many things bore his hands. They perfectly “remembered” the softness of his wife's skin, the silky hair of his daughter, the weight of the gun, and the rough surface of the dead friends' casket. The man raised the leaf to his lips and inhaled its scent. It smelled damp and musty. The more he was examining it, the more similarities he found with himself. The leaf veins resembled his own ones which protruded from his thin, almost transparent skin in the same way. Brown, dry, and crippled edges already started to twist to the center; the same did his old spine. Thinking about such an impressive resemblance, the man involuntarily smiled with a corner of his mouth.

The sun has already set, and first stars started to appear on the sky. It was the very time he was waiting for. He slowly stood up and leaned on the wooden stick, which stood there unnoticeably by the chair leg. The man seemed quite tall, even though his shoulders were bent with age. His leanness made him look even taller, and it seemed that if it was not for the stick, he would be able to withstand the wind, which was blowing outside. However, this was a wrong assumption. Limping on one leg, he confidently came to the entrance door of the room.

He was dressed plainly, but elegantly. He wore accurately ironed check shirt, buttoned all the way up. The collar and the sleeves of the shirt were well starched, although it was not new. In the corridor, the man sat again on a small stool opposite the shoe shelf, and leaned forward to pick up the nearest pair. These were polished to shine leather shoes, a bit worn out but still in a good condition. He was aesthetic in everything that referred to dressing and could never let himself go outside untidily dressed. That is why, he cleaned the shoes once again with a woolen cloth. The process of putting the shoes on was quite challenging. He had to use many efforts to lace them up. Old fingers disobeyed him, and the laces were slipping out of his hands all the time. Having finished with this task, the man finally breathed a sigh of relief and straightened his back. Then he stood up and slipped on a warm moleskin trench coat, which was a gift from his late wife. Then he wrapped his neck with a woolen scarf with a picture of quaint deer on it.

In the end, the man threw a quick look at a big mirror in the corner and came outside. He was met by the fresh evening wind that slightly blew into his face. The man smiled again and inhaled the air. He slowly strolled along the street nodding to the neighbors, who were, in their turn, waving to him asking about his state of health. People loved and respected him. They knew him as an interesting and smart person who, in spite of all life obstacles, kept smiling and going forward with highly lifted head. He always knew when to insert a word or when to stay silent. His determined and strong character was well-combined with his sense of sympathy and willingness to help. In due time, the man did a lot of good things. His sensitive heart never let him stay indifferent to those who needed help. The dreaminess disappeared from his face, and then his expression was livelier while he was observing the evening life of the street. He stepped only once to pat a golden Labrador that came from nowhere and now was jumping at his feet.

It was a wonderful evening. One of those, when one feels a great desire to live, sing, and make smile and happy everyone. One of those, when one understands that he needs to spend the rest of the time with dignity and without regrets.

&nbsp

 

Related essays

  1. The Odyssey and Dantes Inferno
  2. Horst Wessel as a Hero-Martyr of the Nazis