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The old man and his water

published: 2010-07-12

The evening was heavy with expectation. The whole street, the city, the country, was wanting to celebrate. To dance, drink, rejoice, embrace, love. Almost desperately. We joined our neighbours, bonded with them in the common code of beer and of kids who were staying up late as we held on to the screen.
I walked out. Into the silent weight of frantic desire. It was warm and sticky. Nobody was outside, save the people on the sidewalk by the local cafĂ©. Their waves of shouts merged with those coming from windows. I wandered the street thinking, “is this what it feels like to be alone?”
I stopped at a window. The curtain was half-open and revealed an old man on his couch. He looked over 90. His head had fallen backwards. His eyes were closed, his mouth open. Lips turned inward as he had no teeth. He was wearing a bathrobe. Was he watching the game? Indeed he was. Had he died? He slowly opened his eyes and it took ages for him to lean forward. His boney hand shook and trembled as he reached for a glass of water which he had put on the walker in front of him. Waves, again, of cheers.
It was the saddest thing I had ever seen.

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