Friday, 28 August 2009

The old man with the cane

Everyday, an old Greek man with curly short white hair, a cane and pouty lips walks into the same convenience store. He walks slowly, incredibly slowly, it's what happens with old age. He wears a beige jacket everyday, no matter how hot it is outside. With all his effort, he opens the door to the store, almost out of desperation. He walks to the Lotto station, grabs a paper and begins his short but slow walk to the counter. The store owner looks at him with the same pity and sadness as I do. Today, I notice the colour of the old man's eyes, a sky blue beaming next to me. The store owner looks at the old man, almost expecting the next few words out of his mouth, "I don't have money today, can you let me go this time?" The store owner looks at him and says, "Buddy, I'm sorry, I can't. They are picking it up tomorrow, you know normally I do, but I can't." "Tomorrow?" the old man asks desperately. "Tomorrow morning, you can come by in the evening. I don't mean to do this to you, I hate doing it to you..." "No no, I understand," he says in a low voice. He looks around the store, the store owner looks over to me. I think to myself, this man is around my grandfather's age, but they are both so different. My grandfather, at 75 years of age wakes up early every morning and puts on his best clothes, he fixes his hair neatly, he gets into his car and drives to get groceries, and although his hearing is not so good, he's in good health (thankfully) and looks much younger than 75. The old man puts his hands in the pockets of his khakis, he takes out four quarters and throws each one individually on the counter. Clink, clink, clink, clink. "Let me play a Quick Pic, $1." The store owner taps it into the system and hands him a ticket. The man digs into his pockets deeper and finds more change which he throws on the counter. Clink, clink, clink, clink, clink, clink. The change doesn't add up to a dollar, but the store owner will give him what he wants regardless while shaking his head in disappointment. "You want me to fill out the numbers for you?" asks the store owner. "Yes". He states the numbers as the store owner marks them, then he takes the lotto sheet, which many ride their entire paycheque on, and slides it through the blue machine. Beep. The old man grabs his items and his cane and begins his short but slow walk back to the door and as we both look back through the glass, he disappears into the hordes of people rushing through the crowds awaiting to get home.

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