I want this to offend you

I met an old man dying on a train.

When you hear something like that, you prepare yourself for the inevitable moral conclusion that will come at the end of the story. You settle in to your comfortable chair, and you begin to wait patiently for the praiseworthy denouement.

Well, let’s hear some truth.

I met an old man dying on a train. He didn’t say much of anything when I sat down across from him. Maybe he made an odd noise that old people are prone to make, I honestly wasn’t paying much attention.

The room was hot and stuffy - and normally I’m alright with a little bit of heat and humidity - but for once - I noticed.

I noticed the way his breathing was labored, shallow on the inhale and weezy on the exhale. I noticed the way sweat collected around the sides of his neck, tracing beady lines down his deathly pale, wrinkly, blotched skin.

I noticed when he closed his eyes, he dreamed of being young again. How when he closed his eyes, our roles were reversed and he was staring at me in my debilitated condition, silently judging my existence as a matter of my condition.

The train came to a screeching halt. I would say I smelled burning rubber - but that’s impossible because trains don’t work like that. I smelled my own mortality, right then, I think.

When I walked away, I didn't look behind me, not for one second.

-by anonymous

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