Old friend

Published 8:14 am Wednesday, April 6, 2011

It was the type of relationship that started in the most natural of ways.

Not extraordinary in any sense of the word, but rather a simple meeting that blossomed into a pleasurable friendship, which, in turn, became an inseparable bond, such that in its absence the day was incomplete, rather like a tasteless melon or a meatless meal.

As with most such unions, its strength rested in shared endeavors. The range of human experience produced the framework for silent bonds. Disappointment, ecstasy, boredom, humor, fear and pain were but some of the underpinnings so strong that verbalization was unnecessary. They were just always there, together. “Accepting” described their relations. “Comfortable” portrayed their rapport.

As Wilbur sat on the edge of his bed with unfocused gaze through the window pane, he sighed, driving his emotions, like tigers, into a barred cage, lest they rule his actions.

Ah, but the memories! Like ocean swells they rolled through his body, rising and falling, yet ever present. The time they spent together was immeasurable, both in duration and intensity. They had grown old together, each aging in his unique manner. A wrinkle here; a sag there. Age marks manifested themselves in both, as if some invisible magician were at work, summoning designs to the surface in maniacal fashion.

But it was to be no more. Wilbur knew this. The methodical courtroom of time had pronounced its sentence, had declared its verdict. The end had reared its horrific head and sunk its fangs into inevitability, refusing to retract.

Succumbing to the unavoidable, Wilbur robotically pushed up from his bedside seat and straightened into full stature. With intentional gait, he strove to the dresser drawer and stoically marched, as if in funeral procession, to the kitchen and dropped his weathered, warm, comfortable, holey jeans. He sighed as they came to rest at the bottom of the trash can.

Rex Alphin is a farmer, businessman and contributing columnist for The Tidewater News. His email address is rexalphin@aol.com.