I was at my friend’s house when I first saw him. He was sitting there reading the newspaper beside their fireplace and he seemed to be a man at peace with his world. He was sitting on a large, soft sofa reading the Bangkok Post with a cup of coffee which looked as dark as a black hole in space. When he realized I was spying on him he smiled and called me over in a voice softer than I had ever heard before. As I got closer I noticed how strangely he was dressed. He was wearing dark cloudy gray banded trousers, a lined white t-shirt with a dull golden brown bowtie at his throat.
His shoes were made of coarse black leather and were placed in a perfect line beside the sofa leg and he was wearing plain gray socks. He had large round spectacles which clung to the tip of his nose dangerously as the fortunes of a football team in the hands of a penalty taker. His crystal blue eyes sparkled like a child’s when unwrapping a new toy on his birthday. He didn’t have much hair on his head and what was left grew in wispy white patches here and there like withered grass in the desert. He seemed frail like a dying tree as all his skin was dry and wrinkled especially the skin around his eyes and chin.
It made him look older than he was but at the same time made him look wise and experienced. His face was unusually pink as if someone had painted it in a hurry. He neatly folded the newspaper which he had been reading and I noticed the newspaper happened to be open at the comics section.
I loved those comics and I never thought anyone besides me liked them especially an adult! I asked him in as a polite a tone as I could muster if he was enjoying and he replied that he read them avidly and thought they even gave good lessons on how to treat life.From what little I knew of him he had at first seemed to me to be one of those grandfathers who always wanted to discipline their grandchildren and not do anything fun with them but I was so wrong that when the truth hit me it was like a punch from Mike Tyson. It seemed like a revelation to me that there were grandfathers like this outside the world of my fantasy.
I started feeling comfortable around him and would have asked him questions if he hadn’t asked one himself. “Do you want to play checkers with me? ” he posed. I was shocked to find out that old people actually wanted to spend time with young kids like me and play checkers.
We started playing and I lost terribly but he encouragingly declared that he had had fun and I showed much potential and could improve. We played until I beat him and I was so happy that you would have thought that my team had won the football World Cup, although I suspected he had let me win so I wouldn’t leave him in a depressed mood. My mom came at that moment to pick me up and I said a solemn goodbye as if I would never see my new friend again and told him, “You will be seeing a lot more of me now! ” He smiled as I walked out waving.