His eyes were full of serenity, the kind that comes from years of sadness, past the stage of wisdom. His face was lined with wrinkles of age, his breath short and patient, but without a sign of melancholy. No, he was not one to give in to his experiences. Time could only cause so much damage to a man; the rest is up to his own tolerance.
He raised his hand, reached forward, and pushed. The rusty window opened slowly, like a door that hadn’t been unlocked for a decade. Outside was the familiar scene of trees and birds, and the tattered building across the street. This time, he could actually smell the scent of lilies growing in the garden and feel the rural air against his pale skin. It was something he hadn’t realised he had missed.
A girl of around 10 walked past with her dog. As she passed the window, she glanced at the old face inside and smiled. He watched her, innocent and gleeful, and in his eyes she was prancing around. It was a blissful dance imprinted in his memory, together with her smile, her voice and her angelic eyes. Those eyes, they used to look up at him with a certain type of honesty that he would give everything to keep. When those eyes cried, he would feel a sense of pain so intense and at the same time so gentle, that he would be torn apart. The purity of it all, and the simplicity, had him convinced that he would have given anything for her.
As the girl disappeared from sight, he realised that she was not the girl in his memory. The eyes he once adored so much had long vanished, becoming something he had no memory of. What had taken her away from him was not only his own son, but the very lines on his face and hands. The very hands that had raised them for many years, the very face that smiled whenever he saw them. Now, he could raise no more than his eating spoon, and his smile disappeared in the curls of wrinkles whenever he tried to.
Leaving the window opened, he slowly guided his wheelchair next to his bed. He sat there for a while, listening to the sounds outside and feeling the autumn wind in his hair.