Windows

Like he did every morning upon waking, the old man lay quiet for a while, listening to the snores of the cat curled in her usual place alongside his leg.  It used to be she woke up before he did, and jumped down to make her early rounds.  But she was old now too, and preferred to sleep.

            He noticed without alarm that the window in his bedroom had become smaller again.  What does it matter? he thought.  It’s autumn, there’s less light anyway.

            Moving slowly, he made his way to the kitchen and busied himself with the old fashioned coffee percolator.  His old hands had a life of their own, moving and measuring quite without any help from him.  He was somewhere else, in that half world between sleep and wakefulness most likely, in a time like no other where dreams and memories still embraced each other like a young family.  When he came to his favorite place he stopped, pulled his young daughter onto his lap and smelled her hair while he listened to her talk.

            The old man woke for a second time that morning.  The bubbling percolator had called him back, with a voice and an aroma all its own.  It wasn’t at all like her fancy contraption, he thought after a while, which moved with all the speed and soul of her life. Far too fast for an old man apparently. 

            The sounds and fragrance of life swirled around the old man’s memories for a while longer, here and there letting in a little too much light for his tired eyes.  When it became too bright he closed them, and waited.

            When he opened his eyes again he noticed that the window in his kitchen had become smaller too.  What does it matter, he thought, mesmerized now by the snow falling through the frail gray light of winter.  I prefer to sleep anyway, he said aloud, wishing his daughter were there to hear him, to listen to his life, as he used to listen to hers.  To smell the coffee the way it should be smelled, while it was still percolating.  

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