a brotherhood of old men
He would be a tall man on his feet, this old boy sitting alone on a bench in River Street, mouth slightly agape, chin two days be-whiskered, shoes a little dusty. A nondescript.
I had just walked past a shop doorway that had a rack of birthday cards by its entrance grouped into a vertical row of decades, aged 10 uppermost, age 80 lowermost.
I left the old man behind me to return a little later after visiting the bookshop, Mandy the lady there, says she wants to sell some of my stuff. Surfing stuff. Those I surfed with when we were boys – this is for you.
On the return I walked up to him, squatted by the side of the bench and engaged him, this old brother.
‘We don’t know each other,’ I said quietly, ‘but there is something you should know.’
He slowly turned his head .
‘It would appear that we are being discriminated against.’
‘There’s a shop up the road selling birthday cards, but none of them go any higher than 80.’
The ghost of a smile, then I left him.