Vocation over vacation as our hero enters into his twilight years.
By Georgia Willis
My fingers tapped haphazardly on the slim plastic folder clutched in my hands. The dull milky coloured walls of the waiting room sapping me of what little resolve I had left. Two much younger people sat in the room with me. Each waiting anxiously for their turn. I looked up to the clock that ticked by so slowly; my heart jumping with every soft ‘tock’. A bead of sweat trickled down my wrinkled face; the young girl across from me looked away to hide her smirk.
Closing my eyes, I begged my old heart to calm down, told it that everything would be ok. But it knew better, it had been around this block just as many times as the rest of me had. I thought of this morning, thought of the reason I was here, hoping that would calm some of these nerves. But to no avail.
Three years ago my wife had passed away leaving me an empty broken shell. She was my life, my world. And then one day, she was gone. I had lived on, despite the harrowing ache in my heart, for the sake of my children and their children, who always managed to bring a smile to my weary old face. But as time moved on and life got busy, as it inevitably does, the time between my smiles grew.
Each monotonous morning, I would wake to a bright sunny day, to see only mournful grey skies, and await the coming of night. The beautiful garden my wife had lovingly planted so many years ago, that I still tended had, in my eyes, lost its beauty. I realised then that I had lost all purpose. Without my darling wife to guide me and point out the sun to my shadowed view of the world, I was lost in the dark. It was then I had decided to act.
This decision had led me to my first job interview this side of fifty. The interviewer finally walked into the room in his slick business suit; peering down his long pointed nose at the three candidates in front of him. He leered at the smirking woman before calling her name. His eyes lingering on her behind as she purposefully brushed passed him. Despair hit my poor heart. What was I thinking. This world no longer belonged to people like me, who were too old to be of any use. I binned my folder as I left.
I began walking home, shame and misery eating at my soul. I let my mind float and suddenly, instead of home, I found myself standing at the banks of a small blue lake. I knew what I had to do. For once in a very long time, I finally felt at piece. Steeling myself to my decision I took a small step forward, the water lapping at my ankle. A soft tug at my sleeve startled me before I could take another step. Looking down I saw a girl of no more than 5, staring wide eyed and curious up at me.
“Mister are you here to teach us to grow plants?” she asked excited. I looked behind me to see a small allotment full of laughing children, their stressed teachers trying to cage the worldly excitement. A small smile crept onto my face, something I never thought would happen again. I felt the warmth of the sun once more against my skin, and thanked my wife for looking out for me.
“Of course” I said taking the girl by the hand, leading her back; what else were gardeners for?