He didn’t want to look at himself in the mirror. He couldn’t stand up straight enough or hold his head upright to see in the bathroom mirror. So, he didn’t look. But he was told he needed to shave.
He placed a hand-held mirror in his lap and geared himself up to look. He didn’t like what he saw. He was old. His hair was white, and too long. “At least I have hair,” he said to himself. His eyes used to be grey. Now they were cloudy and softly focused. One eye wouldn’t open all the way. Time for another Botox shot to deaden the muscles that constantly fought to close that eye. His face had fallen. His remaining teeth were yellowed. He looked not just old, but haggard. Like someone who didn’t care.
His hand shook as he brought the razor to his chin. He scraped the razor over his face, taking care not to cut himself. It seemed to take forever to finish. At last, he decided he was done and put down the razor down. It didn’t matter to him that he had missed places. “No one wants to look at me anyway,” he muttered.
“Not true!” His daughter was there. She was the one who had made him shave. Next, she would make him go out to lunch. He used to like going out to lunch, especially with pretty women. He thought his daughter was pretty. But now, he hated leaving his room. He didn’t want anyone to see him so old and bent over. He was ashamed.
“Dad, you could have a harem if you wanted. All the women at this retirement complex would love to hang out with you. Betty just asked about you.”
“I can’t see any of them. I can’t lift my head enough. I just talk to the ground.”
“Do you think they care about that? They all like you. You are charming.” His daughter knew her encouragement wouldn’t help, but she had to try. She looked him in the eye. “Promise me you will go down to dinner tonight.”
He tried to cross his gnarled, arthritic fingers in his lap. He had no intention of leaving his room after they got back from lunch. “I will try.”