A peculiar day was made more peculiar as the old man approached a fork in the road. He looked like my grandfather; same height, same hairstyle, same posture, but much less Asian, more Caucasian. It was possible he was mulatto, but it was hard to tell in the bright sunlight. This was for certain; they shared the same distinct odor somewhere between fish and bananas.
Twenty minutes went by, as he looked left, staring as far as he could down the winding path, as if comprehending a jigsaw puzzle without once touching any of the pieces. His bottom lip quivered.
With an overly dramatic pivot, he looked to the right for a good ten minutes. He cracked an audible smile like old people do, as if seeing a naked clown with psoriasis; perfectly restrained in case the situation was more than grave. Just enough so he could quickly transition to a frown or a faint expression of empathy. He made it a point of perfecting the poker face.
As he proceeded to the right, a familiar voice cried out, “No, don’t.”
It belonged to his mother. This was impossible for she had been dead for over a decade. Yet, her distinct warble continued. “To trod down this path is certain doom for your soul.”
The old man did an extreme double take discovering his mother was currently the whitest squirrel he had ever seen. So white, it was almost blinding. Less surprising, the blackest squirrel he’d ever seen scurried up and said, “For the love of Jesus, leave him be. By coddling him so much, you’re preventing him from becoming a man.” Of course, it was his father.
“If you used your own eyes for once, you would see that our son is a man. He’s an old man. He’s outliving us.”
“Oh, you think you know everything. You’re nothing but an enabler. Let the boy make his own stupid choice, you enabling enabler, you.”
The old man cringed. He had heard this uncivil tone between his parents so many times before. It was the prelude to serious wrasslin’.
Predictably, mom slapped dad in the face with her tiny paw, which made dad lunge at her. They grappled, rolling and tumbling, kicking up dirt, circling faster and faster, creating an eerie cacophony, which sounded like a high school jazz band practicing on a bus cruising down a ridiculously bumpy road, familiar yet apparently wrong. The ferocity turned to sheer velocity, and the two were spinning so fast, they looked like the yin yang symbol.
The old man gasped as they began to glow nova-white and rise, drifting away, slowly dissipating. The following silence was so overwhelming that he wept uncontrollably. It felt good.
For the first time, he knew exactly what he had to do. He turned around and got back in his car.