The man always carried a few neatly folded wax paper bags in his shirt pocket, over his heart. During the day he would find some food scraps or treats for his bags.
Walking home from the bus, it was not too far out of his way to the four trees overlooking the lake; his friends, the squirrels, would scamper down and stand at his feet, chattering, with their little hands held up. Not yet for their treats, for they would all shake hands with him first. He fed them by name and seniority, then after watching them haul off their daily booty, he would walk home with a soft whistle and a smile.
On many days the neighborhood dogs would watch this routine, they never chased the squirrels from those trees, the dogs seemed to recognize that those little rodents were special.
The man would check his almost always empty mailbox, unlock the door to his tiny cottage and turn on the hot plate for the tea kettle. While the water heated for his daily Irish Coffee, he would fold the bags for his pocket in the morning. He rarely even glanced at the chair across the table that had sat barren for almost a decade now...
2 October 2014