Oscar figured he had just about enough time to get a short run in before dinner. He laced up his sneakers and put his key ring coil on his wrist. He locked up his apartment and set off down the stairs. It was pretty nice out that afternoon – not too hot and not too cold so he thought he’d make a good distance that day.
He jogged across the building lobby, nodding at the super, Lou, on his way. He opened the door and jogged across the park, bypassing the pathways to avoid the moms with strollers. Once out on the sidewalk, he headed East on Market Street.
He had a good run and made it as far as the old factory on the outskirts of town before turning to head home. He was a little winded and sweaty but he felt great.
He was several blocks from home when he nearly collided with an older man walking along gazing up at the buildings. He had to do a quick sidestep and grabbed the old gentleman’s arm to steady the guy when he wobbled in his tracks.
“You okay, man?” he asked, but the old guy just gazed back at him, in a fog.
Oscar shrugged and set off again. He glanced back and saw the old guy hurry across the side street. Even though he looked a bit confused, Oscar figured he knew where he was going and forgot about him. He was almost home when he heard the commotion in the park outside his apartment building. Some lady was crying, and there were others gathered around her, trying to help her out.
“I only took my eyes off of him for a minute!” she was crying, “I had to go inside to make sure I shut the stove off. He was sitting right here!”
Oscar recognized her from his building. She lived a few floors below him.
“What’s going on?” he asked one of the people in the group.
“She’s lost her Dad,” a lady told him, “He has Alzheimer’s, and he wandered off.”
“Wait a minute,” Oscar said, “Older man? Balding? Was he wearing a blue jacket?”
“Yes!” the distraught woman shrieked, grabbing at Oscar’s arm, “Did you see him?”
“Yes, he was several blocks from here, East on Market Street,” Oscar said, “He was looking at all the buildings. He looked a little lost, and he almost ran into me. I asked if he was okay, but he didn’t answer, and he kept walking.”
“That’s him!” Chloe cried, running towards Market Street. Everyone ran with her.
“What’s his name?” Oscar asked.
“Barney,” Chloe said, “I don’t think he’ll answer if we call. Dad! Dad! Dad!”
Oscar increased his pace and took off at a run, heading back to where he’d seen the old man. He ran up and down several times and tried some of the side streets near where he’d last seen Barney. The others were also looking and calling out Barney’s name. Oscar was sure that together they’d be sure to find one lost old man.
Image courtesy of Pinterest