by Ben Macnair
Frank sat by himself. He always sat by himself. He looked over across the lake, as the ducks that he had just fed crowded hungrily around him. He looked across the lake again. He did this every day. His life hadn’t been the same since he retired.
He had not really prepared himself for retirement. He had looked forward to the time, but now that time was all he had, he wanted more.
The azure, yellow, and red clothes of Autumn leaves lay on the ground. He always remembered bringing his children here, but now, now that time seemed more than half a lifetime away.
Louise was not even here anymore. They had been married for forty years. He always thought he would be the first to go. Shortly after the accident, he railed at God, until he realized that God was not listening to him much these days.
Since then, his friends and his children no longer called on him. He looked at the bare, naked trees, their clothes shed on the ground, as he realized he was facing the Autumn of his life as well. An Old Man, trying to find his way, and himself, in a new world. A grey squirrel sat at his feet, expecting to be fed as well. It’s grey coat, slightly wet and glistening in the chill afternoon air. Frank heard the lone, winsome chime of the church bells in the distance, ringing out that another hour had passed.
Frank wasn’t happy, but he had his memories, his letters, his friends to remind him of his past. He knew that he had more of a past than he had a future. Frank knew that depression was a blackness, but he felt a light grey, or maybe a light blue. Autumnal, as opposed to Winter. Spring as opposed to Summer.
Frank took off his hat and ran his hand through what remained of his grey hair. He had been told in his youth that he was a handsome man. He and Louise made for a handsome couple. The photos of their wedding day reminded him of that. They painfully reminded him of that.
His dog, Bobby, lay at his feet. He did not bother the ducks, and now they did not bother him. Bobby looked at Frank. He let out a pitiful, lonely whimper. He knew that things had changed.
Bobby felt a soft pull on his collar, as he looked towards his master. Frank slowly put on his hat, and pulled on his gloves, and pulled on the leash. Slowly he rose to his feet and threw the last crumbs of the bread to the ducks. The shadows had grown and got up to meet the dog and his master as they left the sanctuary of the park.
Frank walked home and the phone started ringing, just as he put his key in the door and turned the lock. An Old Man, trying to find his way, and himself, in a new world.
Ben Macnair is an award-winning poet and Playwright from Staffordshire in the United Kingdom. Follow him on Twitter @benmacnair