Wednesday, September 01, 2010


I look at the old man as the sea birds screech around us. The cold breeze carries the smell of the ocean - it envelops us. Storm clouds gather overhead. I study him for a moment, watching his eyes as he watches the sea. I finally muster the courage to ask him: “So when did you finally give up on it?”

He pulls another tug from his tobacco pipe, scratches the bristly whiskers on his face as he gazes out at the ocean as if in contemplation. “Gave up on what?”

“Love... true love. Fate. Destiny. All of that stuff.” I re-consider my words, “When did you turn your back on the fairy tale?”

He chuckles as he tugs at the line, gently tapping the pole, wise eyes examining the surface of the waves searching for a darting flash of silver or copper. “I haven’t given up, really.” He turns and looks at me. There is a shaky conviction in his aged voice, it is strong but scratched. Listening to him speak reminds me of listening to my grandfather’s Caruso records so long ago when I was a kid. “I’ve lived a good life... a good life. I have beautiful children. They’re all grown up now and gone. I got grandchildren too. They’re so beautiful.” He pauses. “I can’t say I ever loved someone. But I’m still waitin’... “ He re-lights his pipe and draws a deep breath and holds it for a moment. He exhales. “I’m still waitin’.”

I nod and look out at the ocean. In the distance a fishing vessel shrouded in fog slowly makes its way back to the harbor.

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