“Let me in,” he whispers, barely audible, but just loud enough to remind me he is still there, knocking on my door, ever present and ready to enter whenever I say the words.
“Get otta here, old man!” I scream in my mind, as he is once again up to his sneaky tricks. I don’t like him, and he is very aware, but yet, he persists, ever present in my mind. I know it is what he is made to do. But it is just not time to let him in just yet. How could it be that time already?
You are probably wondering why I am treating an old man so bad. Raised and taught to respect my elders, I know better.
This man is not nice. He is jealous of me. He desperately craves something I have.
“Say ouch, ooh, oooww, as you get out of bed,” he reminds me, as my tired and becoming worn out old bones creak, pop and scrunch. My back, curled cat style, begs for permission to stay crooked, slowly relents as it begins to straighten. Knees as rusty as an old wagon wheel, grind bone on bone, providing the growing and familiar popping sound. The feet, wanting to shuffle, vaguely remember to lift themselves.
“Give it up,” he says, this time a little louder, as if my ears were failing. “You are old. Let me in and live the rest of your life as an old man. You will be happier!”
“Not today, old man. Never! So, go away and quit bothering me!”
“Yeah, look at you Mr. Big Talker. That is what they all say. You will succumb to me some day. You just wait and see,” says the old man.
“I will refuse to let you inside me until the day I die!” I shout, with fists clinched, realizing the contradiction in that statement.
“You don’t need to go on that walk. You know those football knees are creaky and your golf hip still hurts!”
“Hush, old man. I’m going on that walk today and every day for the rest of my life!”
“Fox news is on the television with the latest breaking news. Sit in that comfy chair and have another cup of coffee.”
“No, no, no,” I say, covering my ears with my stiff and achy hands.
“Listen to that beautiful wind chime, “my wife says as we sit in our back yard, loving nature.
My eyes immediately look at the chimes to ensure the wind is moving them enough to play their beautiful song, as my ears are well past the days of hearing the beauty of its highest pitch. I want to make sure my wife is not tricking me.
“Yes, they are beautiful,” I lie, as the old man is surely holding his hands over my droopy and hair growing appendages, preventing me from hearing the beautiful sounds emulating from the wind chimes.
Instead, he pitches in a chime of his own. “Time to get those hearing aids I’ve been telling you about,” he chuckles, quite proud of himself.
I blame this “slight” loss of hearing on my young and dumb tractor driving days without ear plugs of course, because, well, you know, that wasn’t cool, and I was invincible. Okay, and perhaps the time me and Jim Atkins snuck into that ZZ Top concert in Little Rock, at Barton Coliseum. Those front row seats were awesome, but the only thing I heard for the next week or so was, “Just let me know, if you wanna go; to that home out on the range. They got a lotta nice girls.” That and a high pitched ringing sound. In fact, it is ringing right now!
So, go away old man. You see, it was my young days that caused this sign of old age. It has nothing to do with me growing, gulp, old.
Watching television at night with my wife. It is a great Netflix series we both enjoy watching together. It is just getting to the best part. In sneaks the old man. His slimy old hands slip around and softly massage my eyes, making me slowly, softly slip off into the dark abyss. I awake later, tv off and blankets tucked neatly around my body by my wonderful wife.
A whispering noise flows through the air. “Let me in.”
“Never,” I say, as I creak, snapple and pop back to the bedroom to finish the night with my wife.
I awaken again at 3:30 AM with a pressure in my stomach, relieved only with a trip to the bathroom.
“Let me in.”
I awake again at 5:30 AM.
“Get up old man. Your life is over!”
I fumble with my hands to find my glasses on the nightstand. I get up to make coffee, read the paper, have a quiet time, and start my day; just like every day for the past thirty years.
“You are quiet a bore,” I hear, trying to convince me to give it up. “I will get you eventually. It might as well be today.”
“Honey, I’ll go put gas in your car. I will be back in fifteen minutes.
Driving up to the pump, proud as a peacock for doing something nice for my lady love, I realize I am missing something. My wallet!
My psyche sinks. This is, what, the third time I have done this in the last month? It is happening far too frequent. Am I developing preliminary stages of dementia? My mind just is not what it should be. And it scares me to enter this world!
“I’m really going downhill,” I say to myself, as the pity party is beginning. Maybe the old man is right. Maybe, just maybe, it is time to let him in.
“Let me in.” Whispered ever so slightly, this time much more convincingly.
Ring. Ring. Ring.
“Hey dad. How was your day today?”
A twinkle develops in my eyes. Memories in my mind roll across a huge silver screen, projecting images of teaching my boys to walk, ride bicycles, camp, build fires, catch baseballs, drive dirt bikes and cars, scuba dive, and to be gentlemen and to do right to others. Not one thought develops over the hours and hours and hours spent working on my career or worry over all those silly simple things. Those are all so insignificant now.
Suddenly, I am reminded of what I’m living for.
I look around to tell this to the old man.
Funny. He is nowhere to be found!