The old man stood in my living room, obviously uncomfortable, and so very vulnerable. He couldn’t look me in the eye.
“I don’t know why I’m here,” he said as he made for the door.
“Don’t leave, please sit down, I have to know why you came. Can I make you some coffee?”
He nodded his head and sat on the very edge of the chair, ready to bolt if necessary. “Cappuccino or Americano?” I asked, and then regretted it when I saw the look on his face. Obviously what type of coffee I made was the last thing on his mind.
“Which tastes better with whiskey?” He replied as he took a small bottle from the inside of his jacket. I looked at the clock, it was way too early to be drinking whiskey, but who was I to tell him what to do? I made us both an Americano and watched while he poured a large measure of cheap whiskey into his mug. He offered me the bottle, but I shook my head.
“Why are you here?”
“I think you know.” He said, sipping his hot steaming whiskey laced coffee.
“I know we have a connection, I felt it down in the bar on New Years Eve.” I knew what the connection was, but needed him to open up to me. He took another large gulp of coffee. His bloodshot eyes filled with tears and he looked at me.
“How old do you think I am?” he asked.
I considered this before I answered. Should I be complimentary or should I tell him the truth. I decided to be complimentary, he actually looked about ninety.
“I’m not great with ages, but I’d guess around seventy.”
He laughed a bitter laugh, no humor in it at all. “I’m fifty-eight.”
I was both uncomfortable and embarrassed. He looked and walked like an old man. Fifty eight wasn’t old at all.
“My daughter died twenty years ago when she was only 17, my wife joined her ten years later. I’m still here. I neither the courage to kill myself, nor the will to live. Its Hell on Earth.”
“God I’m sorry.”
“God, do you really believe in God, because I don’t. He took my daughter away from me, then he took my wife. God is supposed to be kind, I don’t believe in him anymore.”
“Why did you come to see me?” I asked.
“I think you already know.”
“Maybe, but I want to hear it from you.”
He finished his coffee and rubbed his eyes. It was difficult for him to tell me what was on his mind, but eventually he spoke. “On New Years eve, when I brushed past you, I saw my daughter through your eyes. I saw her reaching out to me. I saw her and I want to see her again. I want to be with her.”
I remained silent.
“You felt it too didn’t you?”
Before I could answer the phone rang. We both jumped. I picked it up quickly.
“Hey mum, can I call you right back?”
I put the phone down and turned around, but the room was empty. All that remained of the sad old man, was and empty mug and the smell of whiskey.