The face of a man


I stopped at the supermarket. I get the stuff I stopped for and then I’m waiting at the counter. I don’t like queues so I’m a bit annoyed. And then I look at the man in front of me. He’s old and tall… and his face strikes me. It’s a mix of extreme kindness and deepest resignation. He’s humble and polite. He buys just a bottle of water and he thanks again to the cashier.

I can’t erase his expression from my mind. It feels like he’s seen so many things in his life, and most of them were not pleasant. And there I am annoyed that there’s a queue.

I watched him walking out and I felt like talking to him. I don’t know what I would say but I thought he had a lot to tell. I still remember him. I don’t know if it’s the urge in us to try and find out what happened to people around us or the need to fix them. I guess we like to fix people. We feel attracted by people with issues hoping that we are the reason they’ll get better. Or it’s just the powerless feeling that ignites us.

But it’s also the sympathy. That original good that still exists in us, that makes us unable to close our eyes to other beings sufferings.

I’d like to think that’s more the latter.

Anyway, he reminded me of my grandfather. He never looked his age in my childhood. He always looked strong and young and tough. I liked him that way. An iron fist, the head of the family, the alpha male. He was a bit too tough if you ask me but he had his funny, loving moments and I loved it when he’ll spare some time to play with me. Good times, childhood memories.

He was married to my grandmother for almost 50 years. 50 years! Some people don’t even live that long! When my grandmother passed away, that’s when it happened… The strong man was gone. I came to visit again and I saw him… older. Way older. In a few days he got old. His hair got whiter and his face was reading the same expression… resignation. His eyes always filled with tears, his voice cracking. You can read an entire life on his face all of a sudden. You can read such a loud loneliness…

I think that’s the worst thing that can happen to somebody. When they just give up. When they live because they have to. But there’s no joy, there’s no will. Just passing the days. This is how the man in the supermarket looked. And I felt sorry. I’m not gonna start with all the philosophy of taking things for granted, but we should be more aware.

Anyway… I guess it’s just life. Sometimes I see things like these in faces I never expected. They seem like they have everything figured out and then one day you see darker circles around their eyes, they sigh a bit deeper than usual, their eyes have a shadow. And it makes you wonder… life really doesn’t spare anybody.

And it gets everybody in different ways. And there’s still a fight, people try to keep on going. And they should. It’s hard, but then again, it’s all you got.

It’s not like I know a way through this, I just write about what I see and what I think it should be the way. I’m probably far from understanding what this people go through simply because I’m not in their shoes.

On the other side you see people who are getting tougher. Angrier. You can’t read their eyes, their expressions. They focus on something else just to get distracted from what bothers them. And maybe it’s better.

And then there are the ones who are very good at pretending…

It can go on forever like this. Anyway, I just remembered this man and his kind face and I said to myself, for a change, to deviate from my minor issues to him.

This is for you stranger with kind face. I hope I wasn’t right and you have plenty of joy in your life.

It’s all love tonight. Peace!

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