It was a rare sunny day here in London, around 10 in the morning when I went to the park near the university, wanted to just stretch my body after a few lazy days. I jogged for a while and then sat on a bench enjoying the sunshine. There was this school trip and several kindergarten students with their small school bags, water bottles, red caps, were walking past me and I could not help but adore them. Smiled at them, they waved at me, I waved back and then one of the teachers asked one of the boy to go and give me a chocolate and he obliged, his name was Dennis. Such a cute little being, so happy, enjoying his time with his adorable little friends. They started playing in the park and I started throwing the tennis ball towards them so they could catch it.
While all this was happening an old man came and sat on the bench right across mine and started staring here and there, obviously I ignored. It must have been 20 minutes later when I decided to go back since I had to go to the university. The moment I passed him he said something which I could not understand. So I asked him again.
You know Egypt is still really beautiful, it is your country, right? He said.
No no I am from Pakistan, not Egypt. I said.
Oh okay you look like them. He said.
So people tell me hahah, I replied.
Pakistan is a nice place as well I have been there once. He started talking after a brief silence, then continued. I lived in Egypt for like 30 years it is a beautiful place, looks just like this park.
It must be beautiful I am sure, I have never been to Egypt but I have heard a lot about it. I said.
Those were the days of King Faruq, when I went there the first time, it was such a peaceful place and I fell in love with it. He said.
Did you work for a company or you just went there for a visit? I asked.
No no son, I worked there for an oil company for like 30 years. I am 80 years old now. This park you are sitting in has been here for a long long time, I used to come here with my father, we used to play, just like these kids here playing right now.
While he was telling me he had this wide big smile on his face.
Woah 80, that's pretty long, what did you use to play? I hope cricket? I love cricket. I just tried to join in the conversation.
It used to be so much fun, there were mountains here now they are no where to be seen, the park had no boundaries, there was a water canal nearby, it was a beautiful place to visit. And yes I also played cricket but mostly with my friends.
It must be fun for sure, I replied.
Yes those were good days. Now look at me son, I am alone and on my own and there is no one I can talk to for days, so I come visit this park and try talking to anyone I can find, hope you aren't being bothered. He exclaimed.
No no It is fun knowing about someone's life. I said.
Its a fuckin' terrible life, I tell you. Old age. He said.
I have to go now I have my university in sometime and I am getting late. I said.
You come here everyday? He asked.
Often, yes but no fixed time. I replied.
Okay can you come exactly at this time tomorrow and we can talk for a bit? He asked me again.
Yes sure I am free tomorrow, will try and be here. I replied again.
But the next day I went to the park and he was not there. Day after, he was not there as well, the third day was the same. I haven't seen that old man ever since, hope he's safe and alive. Worst part is that I did not even ask his name but that smile and excitement on his face while talking about his childhood was extremely cute, still makes me smile whenever I think about it, hope we learn to respect our elders and have never ever even think about abandoning them.