Monday, April 23, 2007

Driving Mr. Mossback

It was a cold winter’s night, back in 1908. I had picked up poor Mr. Mossback at the pub very late. “What have I done?” he sobbed. “I can’t believe it. I’m a failure. A complete and utter failure. I can no longer look anyone in the eye. Not my wife, not Mr. Franklin at the bank, not even you! I know what you must be thinking and the contempt that you hold for me.”

“I don’t think poorly of you Mr. Mossback,” I replied. “I never have and I never will. It doesn’t matter what you have done, you are a good god fearing man. I know this and would never look down on you Mr. Mossback.”

We drove on in silence; neither Mr. Mossback nor I spoke a word. The heavy snow fell around the automobile. I took it slow, trying to traverse the hidden path that the road had become. Each glance in the rear-view mirror confirmed what I had thought since Mr. Mossback entered the vehicle, that Mr. Mossback was defeated and reduced to a shell of a man.

We came to a halt in the driveway of Mr. Mossback’s home. The cooling engine ticked and the falling snow melted on the hood. “Mr. Mossback,” I inquired, “we’re home.” Slowly he lifted his head and took in his surroundings. He mumbled his thanks and shuffled towards his home. No longer a man, Mr. Mossback had become a shell of his previous self. The fallen snow mounted on his hunched shoulders.

It is a sad day when the weight of the world reduces a man to tears. We are all just human, you, I, and even Mr. Mossback. Maybe someday we will actually realize this.

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