Bernard was eighty and lived in a small room. He was given food and played cards, but he wasn’t content like the others who smiled when somebody they knew came by and acknowledged them. Every day, Bernard overheard their chatterings; they talked about the weather and what was on TV. They were content; death didn’t linger there.
He knew that the others did not give-up, but were mostly satisfied. They all probably thought that they lived a “good” life and, as a result, were unburdened by death’s nearing. But Bernard felt pathetic, embittered with himself that he too cannot succumb to relaxing, allowing his skin to warm underneath the sun.
And this was all because Bernard was an artist. He was never financially successful, but well-respected. He knew well of other people’s admiration, but wasn’t able to turn to his own works and see what they saw. No matter how much he was praised he felt the truth, that he was merely a mediocrity. Bernard, throughout his life, felt that he was on the cusp of greatness. On the cusp. But then Bernard became tired and old and unmotivated. He was placed in a retirement facility; they gave him food and he played cards.
But on one warm Saturday morning, Bernard left his room and went outside to sit on the grass and watch the gathering of ducks. There was nothing special about these birds except, by circumstance, they gave Bernard comfort. When he was a kid he was fascinated by the hawks that would fly above the buildings and trees. The ducks didn’t share the same essence as the hawks that hovered within his memory, but they allowed him to feel like a child, when he was allowed to marvel at the hawks that were beyond him and everything. Bernard sat there and closed his eyes, and somehow, felt that the hawks were now closer to him.