I was given a word prompt: mirror. The following story simply spilled onto the page.
The old man gazed at himself in the mirror. He inched closer, leaning in at the waist, the bathroom sink his only barrier. He wondered where all the time had gone.
As he analyzed his wrinkled face he began to think about himself years ago. As a youth, he ran on the track team, ran with a smoothness that all the other runners envied. The old man tried to lift his feet quickly, up and down, pretending to run. After two very slow steps, he stopped. Suddenly, his mind wandered back to a time when he was playing on a college football team. Those days are gone, the days when he was able to maneuver his feet so quickly, back and forth, grasping the ball, knowing he’d make a touchdown.
The old man put both hands up to his face, palms flat against each side. And pulled his loose skin back, tight, to see if his younger self would return. It did, as long as he only looked at the top portion of his face. He did indeed look quite a bit younger, which reminded him of his days as a young father. He thought about those days, playing with his children, letting them crawl onto his back so that he could buck them off, as if he were a wild horse.
Again, his memory took a turn to another part of his life. He saw himself running his own business. Making sure each day ran as smoothly as possible. Building an empire. A future for his kids.
The old man let his skin loosen once again, let the wrinkles settle into place, and looked himself right in the eyes. Eyes that have seen many days throughout his long life. Days full of lessons learned, and wisdom shared. The mirror saddens him yet, mostly the mirror reflects the bright wonder in his eyes. His inquisitive, piercing, blue eyes that look as fresh as the day he was born. Bright eyes filled with history.
The old man took a step backward, continuing to gaze at himself. Yes, time has passed. But there is plenty of time left to enjoy himself. One day he will tell his grand-kids the meaning of each natually carved wrinkle and share his stories of life with them.