12.9.2014 Journal Prompt

Photo by Matteo Alvazzi Delfrate
Photo by Matteo Alvazzi Delfrate

December 9, 2014: It made him lonely.

One Reply to “12.9.2014 Journal Prompt”

  1. He is on in years, so far on he walks with a stick and his back is bent a little so he has lost height. He walks like he speaks: with a stutter, but still he walks long sentences, just to get away. He thinks maybe he has always done this.

    She makes small remarks these days, against what he is and what he’s become. They are like sharp pins stuck in a doll and they make him wince in his body. That’s what he feels. She asked today what he planned to do. It was a simple seeming question. He could have said that he had no plan, but she wouldn’t have liked that. Having no plan was not living. Having no plan was being idle. She had plans to take the bus into town and to do some shopping. Doing shopping was being busy.

    ‘I think I will walk, today,’ he said.

    She wanted to know where he was planning to walk, how far and for how long. He’d thought it was enough to say he was walking. He shrugged his hunched shoulders and lifted his cup to his mouth.

    ‘It’s hot mind,’ she said.

    He made the shape of kissing with his lips and blew across the surface of his tea to cool it. Then he kissed the rim of the cup and sucked or sipped.

    ‘Do you have to make such a performance?’ she said. Her cup sat untouched on its saucer. She was letting the heat go from it before drinking. It was her way.

    He wanted to tell her he didn’t have a plan, that he would walk and see where his feet took him. That was nearer the truth and it should have been enough. Instead he said that he’d arranged to meet Ted at the park. Meetings were acceptable things to shape a day around and the park was not so far away.

    ‘You don’t want to overdo it,’ she said.

    He nodded and sucked at his tea again.

    ‘And you should wear your scarf against the cold and your hat, too. Don’t forget your hat. And take your stick. Last time you went without your stick and your knees hurt for days. You’ve got to take more care of yourself. I can’t be always ministering to you. I’ve got myself to look after.’

    He nodded and set his cup down on its saucer.

    He walked sometimes, just to get away. He walked without a plan, just following where his feet took him. Walking to still the voice in his head, her voice, sharp as a pin. He wore his hat today and his scarf, and he leaned on his stick against his knees later hurting.

    In the park he watched a young couple and he smiled at the easy way they were with each other. The holding and the kissing and the small words soft as feathers or dandelion clocks. He wondered if it had been like that once for him. He cast back in his memory, searching for something. It was not so simple these days. He forgot time and faces and books he’d read. It was like his memory had leaks and everything was slipping from him.

    ‘It’s wasted on the young,’ said a woman who stood before him, blocking out the sun.

    ‘Sorry?’ he said.

    The woman sat down beside him. Her hair was silver and her face pale, but her eyes were blue as forget-me-knots or a summer-hurting sky. She nodded towards the kissing couple he’d been staring at. ‘Wasted on the young,’ she said.

    ‘Maybe,’ he said. ‘Maybe not.’

    ‘You’re a little early today,’ she said and she took his hand in hers and they sat without the need to talk more than that.

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