An exile from the past with a window on the world


I passed him every day in the car taking my daughter K to school.

It was an instant flash of reality that hit me as the car went by – three seconds at the most – as I watched from the passenger side (I still don’t drive since the stroke;  Amoret has the chore).

I saw an old man sitting in his upstairs picture window, dressed in his bathrobe, looking straight ahead with sort a half-smile as though he were amused. His hair was snowy and combed in a Brylcreem style that men
used before and just after WWII. He never moved so I didn’t get a profile look at him, nor did I ever see anyone with him.

After about three weeks of seeing him every day Monday to Friday, at 8:02am, (he was gone when I
came back from walking the dogs, and he wasn’t there when I picked my daughter up in the afternoon) I decided to take a picture, specifically to photograph the situation he was in. It was a hasty photograph because I didn’t want him to see me.  I tried to pre-focus the lens and got this image shooting from the chest.

Now, take a look at the man, staring straight ahead like he’s window shopping for dreams.

Or it could be he’s dragging memories like a ghostly ball and chain, Marley-like, through the rest of his life.

Maybe his world has stopped and he’s just looking for an opportunity to get back on.

Or, he can’t get back on.

Life punctuated by a question mark.  A life now sitting in a picture window, staring straight ahead. An exile in bed clothes from the past.

I wrote this because it was an exercise in writing I wanted to explore.

It’s something that engaged my mind for long a time.  I had to think about the man’s circumstances
and what could possibly go through his mind; how it looked to the outside world; the possibilities of his existence.

I stayed away from commenting on how this situation affected me.

It was a test of my mojo that had disappeared, and was making a comeback.

The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say. -Annais Nin

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6 responses to “An exile from the past with a window on the world

  1. Wow! Now that is something to think about! I could write all day long dreaming up scenarios for that picture – situations mundane and bizarre, and everything in between. I wonder if he has a friend in the world, or if anyone is looking after him. The haircut you described reminds me of my own grandfather, who will be 91 this month. For all I know, that could be a picture of my own Grampy! Makes me wanna go visit him.

  2. Good to read this Louis. Not only as an avid fan of the blog but as a reasonable defence when you’re up before the beak as a peeping tom! Happy Labor Day buddy.

    Your friend
    Guy
    From one King over the Water to another.

  3. Thanks for showing us your writing! How true is your message. It will spur me on to do more of what my friends and family liked receiving when I was in Rehab Hospital first learning to use a word processor.

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