The old man could’ve swore he heard laughter. Thought he heard people talking in an empty room too. He’d sit down and watch the news all day long with the sound off. People moving their lips. Total silence. Just dressed up people on television with desks in front of them. Talking. Just no sound. That was odd he thought. Very odd. So, he made up stories in his mind. Stories that involved him. Imagination.
He talked about the war. What it was like to be in a trench hole with hangrenades going off and cannons being fired. Talked about what it was like to lose a leg in combat. He had convinced himself that this was all true.
Said he’d been to the moon. Told his imaginary friends that he was an astronaut. Said he’d been to Mars as well. Floated in the sky, he said. Weightless. I felt free, he laughed.
Alone. Talking to himself. Not knowing what day or year it was. He had lost his mind. And, people didn’t seem to care. No one from his wife’s old church stopped by to see him. He had no family; she had died years ago. If he got hungry he’d just order a pizza.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. He worked on the assembly line all those years; saved some, had a pension. The old man and his wife talked about going to Florida. But, she had a group of friends she would miss too much. She was active, played cards, church choir, had a real pretty alto voice. The old man didn’t remember her anymore. She was gone. Just one day, gone.
It was his greatest fear; to die alone. And, he didn’t even know it.