Close to six and a half feet, I was steady and robust like a Spanish Fighting Bull in its prime. A full head of black curls crowned my commanding shoulders, muscular arms, and lean but powerful legs. At the age of sixty years, I strode forward with a steely posture that exuded quiet determination. I felt the strength of a prized bull preparing for his final, passionate pass, and reveled in the nonchalance of invincibility reserved for those who gave it their all and expected respect for passing every challenge.
And like the bull, hopes dashed by a sword’s heartless blade, I earned but tearing disappointment as I stared into the mirror. The fighter was gone, leaving behind nothing but his sad, deep eyes forced to face the biggest challenge. I resembled an exhausted ox too weak to graze; my stomach was flat, my shoulders deflated, and my hair stripped to the color of stale wood ash. Yellowing whites encircled my caramel irises in an eerie match to the pallid tone of my skin. Yet I felt no pain.
I should have known. The shadows were lurking around and following me with incredible stealth, but I sensed their presence on occasion. They were there when Emma and I picked up our car from the dealership that summer. The last of our carefree, happy days. I was staring at the grill in a numbing daze when Emma came over with papers in her hand, and touched my elbow.
“Markus? What’s wrong?” she asked.
“This is it. This is our last car,” I said.
“Why on earth would you say something like that?” she asked, her smile twisted in uncomfortable surprise.
“I am not sure. I just know,” I said and took my seat behind the wheel.
We’ll see, like the blind man said.
And I did. And now I wait. Until the sun rises again.