An old man, about seventy five but who's counting, is in the dog park, looking for something.
His hands are in his pockets, he goes through the depth of his Lee's.
Those deep pockets have holes in them. Threads are fraying from older holes that his late wife sewed up for him. He is ferociously digging in those pockets but can't seem to find what he is looking for.
He turns to look behind him, as if looking to his past.
Perhaps he left what he's looking for over there? I wonder.
He looks behind him, but doesn't see a thing. He scratches his head in frustration.
At this point, I walk towards him - my mother taught me to be kind to the elderly - so I give it a go:
"Sir, can I help you with anything?" I ask.
He stares at me for a moment, a short moment, a glimpse.
Too short for me to notice the hesitancy in that stare. And then he smiles, with his dentures.
They're in place, but seem too bulky for his mouth, I think to myself.
"I am looking for something, and I'm afraid I can't find it." He says, as he continues scratching his head.
I briefly imagine what aging would feel like, and dread that thought. So to quickly distract myself from that horrifying thought, I, being a good samaritan and all, offer my unsolicited advice:
"Well, where was the last place you'd seen it?"
The man stares once again. This time I notice his stare. I wonder... is that the look of dementia?
Then he announces with profound sincerity: "I don't remember."
At this point I think I should walk away and leave this man in peace. Not sure how I can help.
But I try nonetheless ('cause I'm a stubborn one), and for some reason, I feel for this old man.
He seems to be afraid of something. I have a weakness for the fearful ones. So I stay.
"Can I help you find it?" I say, with a tender smile.
The man laughs unabashedly. "No, young lady, this is something I have to find on my own."
I take a moment to brush off my disdain to the box he placed me in... he's old, after all... and respond to him with care: "Oh? Well, what is it that you are looking for?"
Suddenly he stands taller. So tall I almost see his youth peeking beneath his white hair and deep wrinkles.
"My moral compass. I lost it. I lost it, and I must find it."
The man looked for his moral compass the rest of the day in the park.
And he continued looking for it on Main Street.
And he looked for it at his white fenced house.
And he is looking for it STILL.
Perhaps he will look forever.
I'll stay close by to cheer him on.
In April 2020, while experiencing her first ever global pandemic, Tamar Pelzig pledged to write something every day, even if it's only a word, so she welcomed to the world a daily blog to keep her creative writing wheels rolling.
Header Art: Daniel Landerman