This morning, I saw a short, old gentleman. He shuffled along with another sprightly senior citizen. From the snatches that I could hear, the animated man was telling his friend that one can't really expect much from children. They are so keen to have their own life and parents always seem to be getting in the way. And what's wrong with that? In today's world, each one for himself.
His friend refuted gently. Something like, 'They love their parents in their own way.'
But the fiesty uncle was not convinced. 'You come for a walk in these clothes. And why hasn't your son bought you keds if you come for a walk? You wear your wife's shoes, for God's sakes. If your son loved you, he could've got you walking clothes, no?'
With this parting shot, he went off to join some boisterous members of a laughter club. His mild friend, seemingly accustomed to such remarks, continued walking.
Now, because of what I had just overheard, I observed the man closely. He was dressed in a brown and white striped shirt and camel-colored pants. It must have been his office-wear when he was employed. And on his feet were black, stretch canvas shoes. Probably his wife's (as his friend had mentioned.)
After a little while, he started jogging - very slowly. He had walked faster than he jogged. But he jogged for a really long time. He must have taken around four or five rounds of the promenade.
On one of his rounds, our paths crossed again. His face was red, but calm. Strangely, he wasn't huffing or breathing heavily at all. Obviously, he must've been a regular runner.
A few young people had also noticed this man's stamina. One of them made some crude remark about how he was probably satisfying his wife in bed by going on and on and on. The others laughed bawdily at this tasteless joke.
The man must have known that he was being laughed at. For a brief moment his shoulders slacked, but he kept running.
Later, on my way out, I saw him walking to the laughter club where his friend was shouting 'Ha Ha Ha' with gusto. He took out a folded sheet of newspaper from his pocket and tore it into half. One half was spread on the bench he sat on. With the other one, he meticulously dusted his shoes one by one after taking them off. He'd wear them for his run tomorrow.
The last time I'd met my cousin, he was spouting wisdom on matrimony the way all bachelors do. He told me that real love in a marriage begins after 50 - when all the novelty and stimulations have been exhausted...when, truly, the couple only has each other.
Looking at the short, old gentleman wipe dust off his wife's shoes, I agreed.