Silver Linings

So for class, me and a partner (John Michael) have to make a documentary on an elderly person. We were assigned to an old man by the name of Gordon Leaf. He is a retired Air Force pilot. He was born in Detroit but moved to Leeds, England when he was very young. Thus, the British accent. It’s adorable.
John Michael and I visited him today. I had my camera, and JM brought his tripod. We picked a camp outside on a patio where Mr. Leaf likes to sit on warm days like today. We asked him the usual questions about his life, and how it was to live in England, and fly in the Air Force. He told us he missed it. His wife recently died, who he said watches down on him every now and then. His mind would wander during silent moments when there wasn’t much to say.
“But I like it here. It’s so nice,” he’d say, smiling.
He said that a lot, to compensate for the lapse in conversation.
“Look at the birds,” he’d say. He kept pointing to the birds out to us. When they flew by, they monopolized his attention. I wanted to ask him why he was so interested, but I never did. Sometimes things are better left to ponder. I think when Mr. Leaf leaves this world, he’ll come back as a bird. I think they remind him of flying. He really did love to fly.
Mr. Leaf never corrects the staff when they ask if we are his grandchildren. He smiles, and makes a joke. He likes to make people laugh. He leads us around the retirement home, his walker, decorated with awards and ribbons, leading him. He calls all the elderly women “lady”, and asks them how they are holding up.
Today he walked us out to the car (I’m actually tearing up while writing this). He’s never done this before. I don’t think he wanted us to leave. He always says how much he loves our company.
When we got in the car, and sat in the parking lot, waiting to pull out onto the main road, I peered out the window to see Mr. Leaf standing on the sidewalk, waving us on. We turned right onto the street, rolled the window down and waved. He waved back, high up in the air until we were out of sight.


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