The Old Lady and Her Friends

He knew her too well. He didn’t know how to tell her. He asked to visit her when he knew damn well she’d say no. He pretended to have plans when he already knew she’d cancel. She knew. She knew. Though her legs were crippled, her mind was sharp. She’d sit by her window pane until she figured out the patterns. “Why did he do it? Why?” Who knew if that question crossed his mind.

He was after his desire. That’s okay. In the short breath of life and 365 days a year, he could no longer genuinely desire to visit his friend. Even though he was a happy volunteer, he now barely tolerated her presence–forcing a smile but with contradicting eyes and brows. She was grown. In an unvoiced manner and his missing presence on those special senior days, he said much. It counted more than his wishes and good lucks.

“Coward,” she thought. Staying in a facility for old people she was used to it. Friends come and go. One day they’re loving, missing you, desiring your company, and one day, well, they walk out on you. No explanations. Her older company, those who lived with her at the “old folk home,” as everyone called it, didn’t even have the luxury to defriend anyone. They simply died. But even that counted as a more honorable goodbye. That sudden death. No ambiguity. No hope. No expectations. Only loss and grief because the only hope was dawn.

The ones that lived, oh the ones that still roamed the earth, “The young populations,” she called them. Even if by some human action they gathered strength to visit the poor old lady, it was a bittersweet–the awkward conversations. The pauses. The eyes that wondered. The hands that fidgeted. That numbed silence that said, “Why are we talking?” Or the silence that revealed truth and honor, “Well, I visited. I fulfilled my human duty. I gotta skedaddle out of here ta…ta!Love Ya!”

That’s when she knew: it’s more honorable to walk away than to pretend a relationship, any relationship, is built on distance, secrets, and deception. It’s much more honorable to let autumn take its natural course so spring can come again. She said, “But I will not be like so. I shall be like all my old friends.” A sudden peace empowered her. She smiled at the thought. She rocked on her chair and repeated, “We have no faces. We are all these faces. We have no faces. We’re all these faces.”


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