The old man sat by the window looking out at the garden he first started many years ago
Much older now but with a memory not slowed too much with the passing years, he thought back to his life through all of that time.
A succession of wives had passed through his life, three in all and the garden came after the third wife had left and Zippo, the horse had died. He spent 35 years of his life as a married man with those three women and never regretted a minute of it and he loved every one of them. He would have liked to have spent even more time with them but things were not to be. Love is so fickle and fleeting.
He thought of the reasons that he was never to remarry, that he was selfish and liked being independent or that he couldn’t bend enough to share his life with anyone else and was unwilling to be subject the subtleties of a women’s persuasion.
He reminisced of a woman’s touch reflecting how long it had been and of the companionship of having a close and dear friend. Instead, he aged alone with dogs and cats as his constant companions.
He even outlived many of those with his long and healthy life span but always, there would be another to take its place, usually, more than one at the same time.
As he withdrew into his older age, the solitude of the garden became his friend. He spent time and money building a succession of ponds each well stocked with Koi and Goldfish. He never named a single fish knowing too well that he could lose any of them at any time and as long as they didn’t have a name, they were just a dead fish.
He thought to himself what if anything he might have done differently but quickly recognized that he would have to have been a different person for that to happen. He is who he is and made all of those good and bad decisions because of that.
His thoughts turned to all of the young kids he had coached and the young lives he had helped to mould and wondered if any had moved on to greater things. Oh, the joys of youth eager to learn and each like a sponge ready to soak up every drop of knowledge that may come their way. He missed the kids and the camaraderie that goes along with coaching or playing on a team.
He thought about his achievements for which he had been recognized countless times and gloried in the moment but shied away from the publicity that goes along with it. He was and remains, a shy man preferring that others get the notoriety that goes along with being famous.
He has many friends and is at the age where he is beginning to outlive some of them. He thought back to what they had meant to him in his earlier life and what part they had to play in it. The games they had played together and the trips they had made and how everyone grows old which reminded him of his own mortality.
He remembered the trip on the Queen Mary in almost its final voyage bringing him and his family to the United States to an exciting brand new life to a land that he has called home for over half of his years. For this, he had no regrets and welcomed the rain as a thing of great need and the hot sun of the Texas summers.
All of these things and many more were crossing his mind as he gazed out onto the garden which looked so splendid in the afternoons sun. One of the dogs came up to nuzzle his hand which had fallen by his side. He looked down at his friend and slowly got up and they both made their way to the door to once more to go out into the garden to lose themselves, one to chase the rats and mice and frogs and the other to tend to the Koi as they had both done so many times before.