“The Old Man”

By Gerald Kellerman

I was walking along a narrow pathway on my way back from retrieving my mail at the postal depot. That’s when I first saw him. I was quickly sorting through the mail, and not paying much attention to anything else. And yet, there he was, an elderly gentleman hobbling along, bent over a bit, and using a 4 legged metal cane for support.

He stopped every few feet to catch his breath, and looked around to see if anyone was following him. He looked straight at me, but ignored my presence, and seemed to be searching for someone that he expected to be there. He continued on his way and paused in front of a puddle of water, gazing at his reflection in the mirror- like surface.

He bends down closer to the puddle, as if to get a more accurate picture of what he sees. He runs his hands like a comb through his very thin grey hair. He shakes his head back and forth like a shaggy dog that just got washed. He turns around quickly as if to see if I’m still there. He bends over again to recheck the water image, thinking that it must be some mistake. He shakes his head in denial, and tries flexing his arms to show off his muscles. Muscles that are no longer there, having been replaced, long ago, by loose skin and fatty tissue. I follow him along to his home and enter with him, thinking that he may need my help. He ignores me as if I’m nonexistent.

He’s greeted by his dog with yelps and barks and kisses. He looks in the living room mirror and to my astonishment, that’s when I realize that this old man is me.


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