Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Old


He walked into the restaurant. It was crowded. He found an empty table at the back near the window. He took his seat and looked at his watch. He was glad he had come a bit early to reserve a table before his family came. On weekends the place was always full. He ordered a lemon juice as he waited.

“My back hurts a lot these days…” he heard someone talking behind him.
“I underwent a sonar the other day….” came the reply.

From their voices he could tell they were elderly. He had just caught a glimpse of two men sitting in the table behind him when he had taken his seat. They were both talking in loud voices as most older people do…probably because they couldn’t hear so well.

“Did you hear about the new hospital ? It has an excellent cardiac unit…” the conversation went on.
“Yes, I visited a friend there the other day. His daughter was with him. He’s lucky…if ever I get hospitalized I won’t have anyone with me….” came the answer in a tone of regret.
“Do you know that my daughter calls me only once a week??? They have no time for us anymore!” exclaimed the other
“What I worry most about is dying at home alone and nobody finding out except after many days….”
“I think about that too. But if you’re gone so what!? Why worry about something if you’re dead and gone!!”

Oh a typical conversation between old people he thought to himself as he overheard them talking....and how depressing it was!! Illness…loneliness…death… ungrateful kids…and the list goes on! He’d heard it so many times before. In the future he’d make a point never to sit near elderly people…no point in spoiling an outing with this type of dispiriting talk!
He looked at his watch again…they were late.

“Did I tell you I bought a plot in the new cemetery...”
“No you didn’t…but good for you. When my time comes I’ll have to be taken to the family cemetery in my hometown…it’s a long way. I just hope it won’t be a hot summer day when I go!!!”

There they go again he thought to himself. The conversation was starting to irritate him. If the restaurant hadn’t been so crowded he would have changed tables. He was hoping the family would hurry up and come. He glanced at the doorway…His eyes brightened up…there they were at last.

He waved to his daughter. She came towards him and gave him a big hug.
”Really missed you sweet heart” he said in an emotional voice as he held her tightly, “It’s been ages”.
Then came her husband…his grandson…his wife…and their twin girls. The two little ones jumped into their great-grandfathers' arms. He tried picking them up as he stood but that was too great a feat for his aging back and weak legs. He almost lost his balance and slumped back into his chair.

“It’s not easy being old my sweeties” he said with a chuckle as they both clambered up his lap and kissed him, "It’s not easy being old...”

3 comments:

Dina El Hawary (dido's) said...

off .. as if the other two men where telling his own story!
excellent narration ya Nadia begad ...

Loubna Olama said...

Loved the twist! Very, very... very nice! Well done Nadia...

Nadia said...

Thanks ya Loubna...your words are always encouraging and uplifting:))