Failing vision in old age

Fade to gray

Failing vision in old age

The half-blind man reads with a magnifying glass. He sits in an armchair in the front room. The room has a picture window that lets in the most light. He needs all the light he can get. He holds a book in his lap with his right hand and the magnifying glass with his left. He turns the pages with his index finger and thumb so he can continue to hold the magnifying glass.

He’s reading ‘A Happy Death,’ the first novel written by Albert Camus. He’s re-reading his Camus books. ‘The Stranger’ is his favorite Camus novel. A story of an alienated young man who wanders through life, murders a man and comes to a bad end. The theme is similar to another of his favorite novels, ‘The Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick’ by Peter Handke, a story about an alienated young man who wanders through life, murders a woman and comes to a bad end. 

At night the half-blind man goes into the dead room and watches old movies from the 1930s and 1940s. Some of them are silent pictures, which suits him fine because he is half deaf. He is half of everything apparently.

The old movies flicker in black and white. He escapes into those worlds with their swashbuckling heroes and melodrama. Melodrama is good. His own life had its share of melodrama; it also had an overkill of real drama. He prefers mellow, a word that describes his life now, slowly stopped like an old movie in the half light of the dead room.

Morocco (1930), Marlene Dietrich, Gary Cooper


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