I could see his stick-like frame coming toward me, his cane hanging from his arm like a Christmas tree ornament. In his other arm he held a sack of potatoes. He had to be at least 90 years old.
“Excuse me”, he said, his voice raspy. I took out my earphones.
“Could you let me into the building, I forgot my keys?”
“Sure, no problem. I know you live here,” I told him. "I recognize you".
“Oh, I’ve lived here a long time. I’ll be ok if you just let me in the front. I don’t lock my apartment, ya see.”
I looked to my left and to my right, I wanted to tell him, ‘Not so loud, are you crazy? People might hear you’, ‘Don’t leave your apartment unlocked, don't you know it isn't safe?'. But then I figured he'd made it the first 90 years - who was I to tell him anything.
As I walked down the street in the spring sunshine, a gust of wind blew through. I pulled my coat closed and crossed my arms, holding it in place. I thought of the old man's accent and wondered if he was polish, or maybe german. Then I wondered whose side he was on, back in the 40’s. Chances are, it wasn’t mine. I tried to stop myself there - think of something else. My thoughts turned back to the old boyfriend again, and how he used to comfort me when we were driving on the highway and saw an animal, dead on the side of the road. I wished he was here right now.
“Shhhhhhh”, I could almost hear his voice, feel his hand pressed against mine. “Don't worry - It’s only sleeping.”