The childless widower in his third age sits beneath the frame of the toy store window looking away into the street while three Teddy Bears, one in a just-right high chair, mourn never being held in small arms. Long after the twilight has passed, under the darkness of the elevated train platform, he will stare, lost in the old street map that once belonged to his wife, and still not know where exactly he is and where exactly he belongs. Hours later, tired and ready to sleep, he will stumble home to his old familiar bed and his old faded green walls and his comfortable brown leather lounge chair, the room filled with sixty years of his life and his old familiar scent and switch on the new flat screen tele- vision (that replaced his old vacuum tubed friend) using the newfangled remote he barely knows how to operate. Next to him, on the side table, is the silver cell phone he forgot to take with him, the one that he threw on the frayed golden shag carpet thinking it would turn on that light box— and then had to frantically retrieve again on hands and knees when it started playing Good Night Irene, and he thought it was his wife finally calling to tell him where she was after all this time gone. He fell asleep missing his lost wife, almost the same unwanted sleep as always. Except this night Irene would sing to him from her sewing chair outside the door frame of her old childhood home, the chair fully on the cobblestone street, she sewing black elbow patches onto his favorite red sweater. He would smile at her and would revel in the idea of using what the teens snickeringly called the analog social network of honest conversation. After a good dinner and some good wine he would remember the many times they would argue over the important things he no longer remembers, the things that kept them both together and yet apart. Tomorrow he would go to the town plaza and sit nearby but looking away from the fountain bubbling behind so high to the sky and so full of life, watching the men, women and children whose names he will neither know nor remember strolling by in the familiar grey, brown and yellow flow— trying to recall the name of that beautiful young women in the sewing chair on the cobblestone streets just beneath the toy store window.
This is a story poem that I created after looking at a photo essay by Luca Sorato about lonely old people.
The story is evocative and reminds me of what the Portuguese call savage. I have to look to make sure I have it right. I’ll text it to you. The story here seems full of the heat of loss. The line involving the throwing and retrieving of the cell phone I know that frustration well