A Little Bit of Me

Jottings and Writing, miscellanous misgivings

The Old Man


I met him in the street as I arrived for a visit to my own daughter. He was eighty years old and had nothing but a used bus ticket and four dollars in change in his pocket. And he became my friend.

I arrived in Adelaide to see my new granddaughter and daughter and partner and found the old man wandering alone in the bus terminal, confused. He had the look of a lost dog. He almost whined and lay on his back with his legs in the air, exhorting me to rub his belly.

I had time to spare and a relatively-decent knowledge of the city, so I asked him if I could help. He shoved a piece of paper into my hand.

“This is the address but I can’t work out where it is. How can I get there? Can you help me find this? It’s my son”

The old man hadn’t spoken to his son in twelve years. Reminded me of my own relationship with my father, since deceased, and mother still going strong at 92 but ensconced in a rest home. On that piece of paper was the return address in the corner of an envelope of a card what I took to be his grandson had mailed to him. The date stamp looked to be about ten years old and you could see that it had been folded, unfolded and then refolded many. Many times.

Other than the address – which he later told me he had clutched in his hand the entire trip from Sydney to Adelaide , the man had arrived with nothing but a used bus ticket and four dollars in change in his pocket.

We hopped into a taxi and I supposed that this was some guilt pay back thing for me but I was going in the general direction so –

We arrived at a modest Adelaide house, blinds down, lawn dying in the intense heat like most Adelaide houses in mid summer.

I waited in the taxi as the old man walked up the porch steps. It wasn’t his son that answered the doorbell, but instead a boy in his late teens. Probably the grandson. I had my fingers crossed.

They exchanged a few words on the porch – I couldn’t make out the conversation – and then the young man took the old man into his arms. They embraced for over a minute before the boy took his grandfather’s hand and led him into the house. Just before closing the door, they both paused and looked back at me: a look that told me that everything was going to be okay.

I turned. A passer by, who had obviously been eavesdropping on the old man and my conversation smiled at me. Just then the front door burst open and the old man tumbled backwards down the steps, desperately trying to clutch onto the banister. A large, oafish man, dressed in a grubby white singlet that I had come to know as a wife beaters singlet, stood at the top of the stairs and yelled down at the prone figure.

“And don’t ever try to come back again, you desperate old bastard.”

With that he stormed back into the house, the slammed door the only testament to what I had witnessed.


1 Comment»

  RaiulBaztepo wrote @

Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language 😉
See you!
Your, Raiul Baztepo

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