We watched him trying to get up. A corpulent man, he was struggling to raise himself from the seat he was occupying with his wife. We were sitting in the garden of our favourite hotel. It isn’t a particularly grand or elegant establishment. The food is ordinary and the decor dated. But it is quiet and the clientele for the most part well-behaved. We go there to sit, inside in the adult’s lounge if its wet and in the garden if it’s dry. Yesterday the sun shone. His wife was counting out loud the attempts he made to stand up. One, two, three. Anno Domini, he said to us as he finally succeeded. It’s my knees and my feet, he said by way of further explanation. He couldn’t sit still, despite his difficulty. First it was the sun cream, then the umbrella. He’d stop and chat to people on his way back to his room. A cultured man, I think. He told us he’d come here as a child, to a small village along the bay. His aunt had had a caravan with paraffin stoves. Very dangerous, he said. His father had come too after the war. 1949 I think he said.
It was a lovely day.
She sent a book of poems. Perfect pockets of wisdom.