What an amazing character this gentleman is.
The expression on his face as he heads home clutching the frozen meal he has recently purchased?
I loved the deep lines in his furrowed brow; those hooded eyelids and hard earned classic crows feet. The experience of age etched in his face. Outwardly projecting his life experiences wisdom and knowledge.
But he also cut a somewhat tired and lonely figure for me today.
There was a definite sadness in those eyes. He seemed to have almost given up. I offered a smile as our paths crossed but got no acknowledgement or response. He was looking into the middle distance…lost in his thoughts.
I slowly raised my camera and captured this image.
For me the mass of silver hair and beard reminded me so much of a modern day “Ben” Gunn? The fictional character in Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel ‘Treasure Island’
With a certain look of vulnerability in his face and his old leather belt which he had not bothered to properly buckle up; and which was simply tied in a knot around his thin waist and holding up his baggy denim jeans.
Sadly I understand only too well that in a flash our circumstances in life can change! And often not always for the better. In pain and confused some then tend to quickly lose interest in themselves and in their general appearance?
I do not mean to point this out in an unkind insensitive or disrespectful way? I just often wonder about what happens after these sudden changes occur in peoples circumstances; and in their quality of life?
Do they retain the life long friends and relationships they may have previously shared and enjoyed? Or do these slowly and inevitably steal away; and are gone forever?
There are so many thousands of people in this country; who as they age live alone. Many in solitary confinement never getting to see or to talk with another living soul! Often for days or even weeks on end.
No joy or laughter shared, just another day, another opportunity to stare at the same walls; and to quietly remember how it all used to be. No visitors or anything to look forward to? No real focus or responsibility or perceived purpose to their existence.
They sit by the window hoping to see a friendly face as they prod a fork into yet another bland boring ‘meal for one’
In the evenings they may listen to the only real friend they have? This comes in the form of their radio. Which between songs and music spits out more news on the local gang violence and most recent senseless killing. This relentless negative ‘drip feed’ of unwelcome information from around the globe directly into their very own living room.
Then comes the dark…when doors are bolted tightly and curtains are drawn. When feeling even more frightened they then face the reality of their own stark isolation.
Anxiety and worry then visit upon them their hearts thumping loudly: echoing inside their fragile bony chests.
Unfamiliar sounds then manifest or awaken them from their much needed slumber.
In contrast these young people in the image are enjoying just being young as they each walk briskly by him.
One young lad directly behind his shoulder though unthinkingly gives his appearance a look of distaste as he and his friends hurry by all with much to look forward to!
No smiles, no simple hello or polite ‘good morning’… No interest, no concern!
Nothing…’Time just marches on’