It was in the way he drank: time was not in short supply for this gentleman who sipped at his glass and studied the wall ahead for things to contemplate: a solitary figure in a near-empty bar, an afternoon drinker, but not a drunkard: just a man trying to remember pleasure, and those days when he led a busy life with choice as his companion. Now he was a man who had drifted out of the social round as money proved to be in short supply: those holidays abroad spent rollicking with friends and his habit of clowning in the early morning were now just episodes from his past.
He sipped his drink and wondered how it would be if he could begin again: the careers he might have followed, the chance to walk once more through wilderness, and watch the stars, glittering and beautifully indifferent. To those around who might catch him in a glance, he seemed a disconnected soul, one who’d looked at life and forgotten what it was he had to say; who cramped himself into ever smaller spaces, and opened doors for people busier than himself.
Someone walked towards him, some young lad, and asked if he had the time. Yes he did. Time was all he had, but that is not what he said. “Three thirty five,” his voice was crisp and clear; he knew better than to try and engage strangers in conversation: that was for the old, and he was not old yet, not in his own mind.
He sipped again and now he felt the music fill his heart and smiled at that chorus of ghosts from other times and lands who joined him in his solitary world and saw beyond his disengaging, stare. Standing in silent guard over his history he recalled times when plans where more than dreams and urgency filled each waking hour.