Man starts to shave. Sees his reading glasses on the basin shelf. Wonders why. Wife tells him breakfast is getting cold. Hurries to the table. Spoons down porridge. She gives him a peck on the cheek (when did they stop kissing the way they used to? ) and rushes off to work the way he once did.
Reaches for the iPad the way he used to reach for his morning paper, then realises he needs his glasses. Man-searches kitchen, living room, small office, second bedroom, and – in case he wandered – the car garaged downstairs. Then remembers: The bathroom. Of course. Puts them on, and reads fitfully – all old wine in new bottles.
Decides he should go for his walk. Changes, puts on track shoes and the fluffy track pants she hates, but then she’s not here to tell him. She doesn’t get it. Climbing into track pants is like slipping into a warm bath.
Finds his sunnies and takes off for his walk. Pauses at an intersection: Thirty minutes or 40 minutes? Up the hill? Or along the kinder levels on its flank? He takes the easy option, but is in the slow lane. Hears a brisk swishing behind him. Sees a grey-haired sari-clad woman overtake him. Puts on a spurt, though she turns the corner a few hundred metres ahead of him.
It’s early, so he sees school trains halt at street corners then take off again, powered by innocence and laughter Men his age walk too. though laughter is bloke no-go. He nods. They nod back, a polite acknowledgement. A mute acceptance of ebb-tide tugging – though if they walk fast enough, long enough, they’ll keep ahead of It.
Back home he reaches for the glasses he left on the piano. Not there. Not this again. Logic should help: what were you doing last when you lost them? he asks himself. But Logic has heard this too many times before and doesn’t answer. Bugger logic. What does it know? Searches every room – is about to call her when he walks, grumpy and lost into the bathroom.
Looks in the mirror. Sees a Walking Man staring back at him. But more importantly – spots his reading glasses strung from his neck. Makes a cuppa, downs it with a gingernut, though neither are what they used to be. One leathery, the other anorexic, unfamiliar. Looks outside. Still sunny and the garden bag needs filling. Pulls on gardening gloves but not his favourites. Sometimes he harbours dark thoughts that somebody has nicked them. Logic counter-punches: who would want anything that old?
From the dark recesses of the end of his garage he launches himself into the sunlight. Way too bright. Goes back upstairs to find sunnies. Man-searches kitchen, living room, small office, second bedroom, car and then remembers: The bathroom. Looks in the mirror. Sees the sunnies on his head…