The Old Man’s Glasses
They came to me eventually, shoved in a box with his wallet, the scratchy faced watch and a mobile phone he never answered. The Old Man’s glasses. He often said he could see his friends through them, old friends gone a while ago. He knew they were already gone because they didn’t get any older. It worked with me too. Even after I’d turned fifty he could still see the child in me.
I tried them on, they weren’t too bad. I guess our eyes were very much of the same type. That was good, so I kept them as a spare pair. My own are fairly scuffed and scratched, plus I’m often too lazy to give them a good clean.
I was back in the town for his funeral, just for a couple of days really. I’d not lived there for thirty or more years. I hadn’t made frequent visits back either. As my parents slowly died I could not bear to be there. Now I can see it’s not a bad place really, not a lot has changed. I remember being happy when I went to university here. The pubs are pretty much the same as they were. I can’t find the record shops we used to haunt, but record shops are rare everywhere these days.
In the streets I see faces, a lot of them familiar, still young. They were the type of girls I adored from afar, or chatted nervously to in the uni bar. There’s young men too, almost comical with their unlikely beards. Hey, I was just like that!
I must be wearing the Old Man’s glasses, I can see what he said was true. I might be looking at ghosts and phantoms, or maybe they’re the grand kids of long lost friends. My Dad was not upset by his visions of the friendly spirits he saw. Me neither, it’s rather charming in its way.
Some flash fiction for a Sunday. I wrote this one on the train going to the shops. It’s not the Faber Quickfic challenge this time, I’ll save that one for later.
Even after I’d turned fifty he could still see the child in me.