The Last Walk… Once again.

Pitter Patter… Pitter Patter…

The rain drops on the window at home, always made me sad. I hate the rains, such a gloomy weather. I turn to see my college-going son, watching some game on TV. TV doesn’t distract me either. Well, partly because a newly retired man can only about watch TV all the time. And a Sunday doesn’t particularly mean anything anymore. My son looks back at me and instantly realizes that I’m not feeling like myself. He smiles and says, ‘let’s go.’ I have no idea where we could go in this rain, but as long as it means we are going to do something, I’m game.

We head out for a drive, stop by our favorite place and grab a beer as we discuss the game that’s going on. We look at the young kids around and discuss about their lives, and the current fashion. We laugh, we smile and we bond. The rain has stopped now and my ever-caring son decides we should go for a short walk.

“Now that you don’t go to office anymore, your physical activity has gone down… let’s move those rusting joints of yours.”, he’d joke.

But he is right. We walk around and look at how fresh and clean everything looks after the rain. We discuss the economy and how different life was in my time and what amazing exposure the kids of today are getting. We talk about the future, we talk about the past and we even talk about girls. We cross a building and he stops for a moment. I ask him what it is and he says that it’s a new old age home that’s opened up.

“Oh let me have a better look at it… this is where I have to come in a while”, I laugh and say.

He looks at me all upset and says, “Please dad… don’t say that. A lot of time left for that. And anyway, we still have more of these walks and talks to get done with first!”.

I laugh and look heavenwards to thank God. I see a man in the window above the first level of the old age home. He looks vaguely familiar. My son has already started to walk forward. I take a few steps and turn back to see the man. He is looking right back at me. He leans forward to get a clearer view. I feel deeply saddened for his state. And I turn back to see my son. But he has gone way too far. I call out to him but he doesn’t turn back and only keeps walking further ahead.

A woman calls out to me, “Sir, it’s time for your evening snack. We’ve got your favorite fruit today.”

But I don’t turn back to face her. My eyes are glued on the figure in the distance that’s my son. He is fading out of my view. I start to panic. She calls out to me again.

And I turn saying, “But I just had beer and something to eat with my son… I’m not hungry.” The woman looks back at me innocently. She looks a little guilty. She smiles and touches my hand softly, “Your son left you here 3 years ago sir. This is your home now… Would you like to join the rest in the common hall?” she says.

I have no idea who she is and what she is talking about. I look around and see that I’m in the same window I saw with my son 3 years ago, from outside. I strain my neck outside the window to see another man walk with his son. They look at the building and smile. The son puts a reassuring hand around his father’s shoulder. They laugh and continue walking ahead. It suddenly hits me and I turn back to face the woman. She is still smiling at me. I smile back at her and sit down on the bed.

Almost as if nature could sense the storm in my heart, it started to get dark and it started to rain. I hate this weather, but more than anything, I hate being here. Not the old age home, but this place of abandonment, this place of redundancy. But there is nothing I can do about it. All I can do now is look at my glory days; people walking with their families, walking with their loved ones, holding hands, giggling, talking about the economy, about the game, about girls… living life, before they too will be left alone to exist for the remaining years left in their biological clock. I sit there watching the world outside, living my walk with my son again, every time I see a father-son walk by.

Pitter Patter… Pitter Patter… The rain is coming down hard this time around.

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One thought on “The Last Walk… Once again.

  1. Having to deal with elderly parents as their health (mental & physical) declines is something that will gradually become really tricky for many people and I think you have captured an increasingly common scenario very succinctly and with gentleness and kindness. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

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