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I'll Be Seeing You
A Chance Encounter
THE OLD MAN had been sitting for over an hour as the bus made its way along the winding narrow roads of the French Countryside. Whenever he sat for any length of time the joints in his legs became stiff; so stiff he had difficulty walking until they loosened up. It was one of the little things that irritated him. It made him look like a doddering old man. He was, in fact, old, but he didn't want people to think he was doddering or feeble. For most of his life he had been robust and virile. Even as old age crept up on him he looked younger than his years. He had a full head of hair that retained some of its brown color, and maintained the same slim appearance of his youth. Most of the bad effects of aging were inside his body where they weren't obvious. He wasn't a vain person, and yet he was concious of how others saw him. The only outward sign of a problem was a slight limp in his right leg; the result of an old wound he received during the war.
The door to the bus opened with a whooshing sound as a blast of air escaped from the cylinder controlling the door mechanism. He waited until all of the passengers stepped off of the bus before he made his way down the aisle toward the front. The driver was standing outside the door on the pavement with his hand extended offering to help anyone who might have trouble negotiating the steep steps. The old man ignored the driver's offer not wanting to appear dependent on his help. He could manage on his own.
It had been a long day and at least a dozen members of the group decided to remian on the bus resting their sore feet and aching backs. Their interest had long since waned as exhauston had overtaken them. A few had their eyes closed and were napping while others stared out of the windows or were reading the literature the tour guide passed out earlier. Stepping from the bus he felt the warm rays of the autumn sun wash over him like a comforting blanket. He especially liked the autumn with its palate of earth-colors and dieing flora that gave the landscape a quiet, muted look. Autumn was when the loud pace of summer slowed in anticipation of the cold, dark winter that lay ahead.