The old man knew the race was well and truly on.
His days he knew were limited, that was reality,
But still, he nurtured the belief that love would come his way.
He didn’t know how, or when or with whom,
But it was a yearning he never gave up on.
There had to be someone he argued
Who might see him as a viable proposition?
The days went by, his birthdays came and went
The numbers beside his name grew larger
The wrinkles on his face deepened,
More hair fell out, his paunch expanded,
But still, his eyes sparkled when any engagement occurred.
He knew he was slowing down, his legs hurt,
He grew to worry about mowing his lawn,
Exercise was getting harder to come by
It took longer each morning to get vertical.
He wandered out one morning and bumped into a stranger.
Apologetic he hated making a fool of himself
The stranger didn’t recoil from his mumbled clumsy excuses
But rather stopped to listen, nodded understanding
Said perhaps a cup of tea might settle his anxiety.
He was taken aback, this wasn’t how it worked
Where was the aggression? The telling him off?
Instead, there was interest and then concern
The stranger saw him as a person, a man of substance
He wasn’t used to it, rejection was his default consequence.
Over morning cups they chatted, told each other their story
And committed to doing it again, the next time at his place.
Later when at home he anguished over what he’d done
Thought dusting, I bet my stranger loves dust free
So set to work wiping shelves and benches so long
Neglected and allowed to run free.
He heard the knock upon his door
His heart skipped a beat, would he pass?
The stranger stood there more beautiful than ever
Reached out and took his hand, stepped up and kissed him.
It was in that moment he knew
It was he who had won the race.