Flight of the Lonely
by Dusty Wallace
Edgar tried to make it to the toilet without glancing at the mirror over his bathroom sink. He didn’t want to see himself anymore. His wrinkly, liver-spotted wings had been beautiful once, blanketed with golden plumage. The feathers had started falling away in his fifties, and he’d begun to look sickly. Once they were all gone, the pale, chicken-bumped skin embarrassed him. Now he was an 80-year-old man, and the wings were covered in the same fine, white hairs that filled his ears and nostrils.
Edgar groaned as a trickle of urine forced its way past his enlarged prostate. A retirement community, he thought to himself. Retirement from what? From a furniture factory, was the answer, but he didn’t see it that way. Retirement was what successful people did after a fulfilling life. He had simply grown too old to work and got dragged to this place after a heart attack 10 years before. He groaned again as he zipped up. His bladder never felt empty anymore.
“If only I could fit a bed in here,” he said to himself. “Would make life a lot simpler.” Then he glanced in the mirror anyway.
Most seniors feared giving up their freedom, but for Edgar, it was different. In the past, whenever he’d been angry or frustrated—which was often—he’d take to the skies. A few hours of seeing humanity from God’s perspective would cool his thoughts. Now, holed up in a 90-square-foot room that smelled like dirty diapers and death, he felt tortured.