There’s an older man who works in my office building who looks as though he is very ready for retirement. His shirt is always untucked, hair untidy, and his shoulders slumped over in defeat. He has a slight limp, and his eyes are usually fixed on the floor.
I find myself always wondering what he’s like when he leaves here.
As we pass one another to reach our respective public restrooms, I’ll say hello, or some other arbitrary greeting. He often looks up, faintly surprised and mumbles a “Hello” back. His replies are always strained; as if I yanked him from a thought he wished he could’ve kept his attention on.
Sometimes I think I should ask him his name, or make an effort to get to know him. Despite his unkempt appearance (and his evident indifference over it) I want him to know he doesn’t make me uneasy.
I decide for him that it’s the last thing he would want. On Tuesday I wished him a Happy New Year and he said,