Friday, August 24, 2012

Old Man in an Arm-chair

Did you ever hear the story of the Old Man in an Arm-chair?  It is not very remarkable, but it may be a read for a slow passing afternoon.
       He was a very honest old man who now was pensioned off. He was in no great fear of the morrow—people said often as they passed his window, said perhaps too often:
       “Look! At the window, there leans the old man again!”
       “What is the old man thinking?” says another voice.
       “Perhaps,” said an answering voice, “His whole life drama is in that gaze”.
       And perchance it was. And thus, the years roll by, scarcely had the old man moved forward, so it would seem to an onlooker, from that old cushioned and wooden arm-chair: looking out his window at the many children at play, now grown to adulthood, this being his older years life’s drama, where the children with their red cheeks are no longer red, nor are they shoeless, but they still pass the old man’s window, history renewed, in a different way.

       The old man now glances down, if you were nearby him, you could hear his breathing, he is old and tired. All around him is quieter and more quiet…there are old photographs placed on his lap, for he wished it so! He had been sitting in his arm-chair—long this day, telling his mind, his second self, as it is often referred to, some of the stories behind the photographs. He has leaned his head back to sleep awhile.
       He has some wrinkles; his hair is a little whiter, thinner, this year than last year. And to be frank, he can tell you some good stories, if indeed you have time to listen.  He has books all about him, books older than he. He knows soon he’ll just be dust in a grave, he wishes it.
       Today he thought about all the brothers in the world, how more often than not, they try to cheat one another—family members waiting for their loved ones to die for want of things that will rot and perish in time, like him, like they.  He’s thinking of the deceivers the tyrants. 
       “Everyone thinks they’re going to heaven,” he chuckles.
       And now he’s thinking about right and truth. And his thoughts have lifted and brought him to wish it—gazing in that arm-chair a long while, gazing out the window, gazing at his photographs, and he wishes it; the old man has gotten aroused, an arrow struck his heart and it stretched from earth to heaven, to the point they both seemed so very close to him: in other words, perhaps, what is far to man or most men, was close for him.
       And his mother knew him, and his grandmother knew him—all heavenly bodies to each other. Then the walls in his home sank and crumbled in front of his eyes, even the arm-chair rotted to dust in front of his eyes, but his kindness in those old eyes never died in those old photographs: not even when they laid him on his back, in that dark cedar coffin—their remembrance lived on, and on and on.

Written 8-12-2012 (Lima, Peru)