We knew something
I was sitting there waiting to get my prescription filled. There was an
old man on my right and an empty chair between us. An older man with
a cane sat down in the empty chair. It was uncomfortable.
I started looking at a vitamin pamphlet thinking I needed to eat
more green leafy vegetables. The old man with the cane started wheezing
and coughing. He didn't have one piece of clothing on that fit. Everything
looked like it had shrunk to about the size of the number of years left on
his life. On the other hand his skin looked like it was two sizes too big
for his body. He was a mess. I liked him, he said, I'm seventy one.
The old man on my right was a little more together. His clothes matched
and fit, his hair was cut short, he sat straight in his chair proud and ready.
He seemed fairly healthy except for the red blotches on his arms and face.
He said, I've got you beat I'm seventy six.
I've never felt like I fit in. I used to think I must be special, but soon
that turned to feeling like I was a loser. I felt like everyone knew something
but me. I would see them talking and laughing at a party; driving along in
their cars; or sitting with two old men waiting to get a prescription filled.
The old man with the cane coughed a little and said, I was in the navy,
world war two. Marines, said the other old man. I looked up and softly said,
Army Vietnam. We all sat there sort of nodding at one another, the faintest
hint of a smile on our faces. We sat there waiting on our prescriptions.
We belonged. We knew something.