Life Story

There’s a man who lives in my suburb, he’s multi-millionaire, has had three wives, multiple children and lives in a beautiful house in an amazing location. He’s old now, going blind and is, as far as I know, living alone. No more wives, no more kids, with his health slipping away.

First day back at work I had to wrap up all his Christmas presents. He’d made a list of 25 people and to 23 of them he is giving the same book. What makes it even more curious is that he’s written personal messages inside each of them, no cards, just scrawling black ink on typed cover pages.

In my infinite curiosity, I read the messages and they made me indescribably sad.

Things such as (names changed):

“Dear Margaret, I had hoped we would be spending Xmas together this year…”

“Dear Frank, thank you so much for all you help during the year, you’ve been so kind…”

“Dear Joe, I hope you the house will be finished in time for Xmas, you and Sarah are always welcome at my place, whenever you are able to visit…”

“Dear Harry, I miss you terribly, now that your mother and I have got a divorce I hope that we can reestablish our relationship..”

That last one is the saddest one of all, what a heart laid bare, and how out of place it looked, on the cover page of a book where one usually writes such simple, banal and sentimental messages.

I think of all the people in my life now, when I’m 90 will there only be 25 and will some of them not want to see me? Or is it a representation of money not buying happiness etc? Or is this simply what happens when you get old, that people leave you and then leave you alone?

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