This was where he sat, where he had sat every day since the nursing home had banned smoking first indoors, and then on the grounds. At one time in his life he might have railed against such an edict, the medals on his chest bore testament to the fact that he was not a quitter, but now, mellowed or cynically resigned by age, he took a chair from the lobby and walked out along the drive, a newspaper under his arm, dragging the chair slowly behind him, its feet leaving a wake of parallel grooves in the gravel. Once outside the gates he placed the chair to one side of the driveway, seated himself upon it, took a single cigar from his pocket and lit it. Here he would remain, regardless of weather, until the paper was read and the cigar reduced to nothing but ash, scattered to the wind.
This was where he watched the world go by. Beyond the pages of his newspaper he caught snapshots of a world no longer his own, a world that seemed somehow reduced by the passage of time. Beneath hooded lids his rheumy eyes took in low slung jeans, pierced belly buttons and Ugg boots. People groped each other on street corners with a relaxed carnality and swore as a matter of course. No one raised their hat. Half of those who passed seemed to have at best a rudimentary command of the English language, some foreigners, others just ignorant. His world was slowly burning away; ash in the wind. Continue Reading