The police had found him lost and bewildered at a city bus station, years ago. Apart from the labelon his shirt, there was no clue to who he was – he had no wallet, no licence, no credit cards.
In the end, after lots of unanswered questions and head-scratching, the police took him to the Sunset Days Retirement Village, where he became as invisible as a human could be.
After the Tuesday lunch of corned meat and soggy vegetables, Mr Walker shifted his slight weight in his chair. He thumped the windowsill with his palm. A faint noise began rumbling high up in his bony throat beneath the pure white hairs of his old man’s beard.
Occasionally, as she pushed the old man's wheelchair in the garden, she would complain to him about Mrs McDonald, or talk to him about what had been on TV the night before. Was it really gratitude she saw in his eyes? She couldn't believe he was empty inside as Sister Carr said he was, a hopeless case.
After all these years – to meet the man inside the statue! ‘Plane,’ she told him quickly. ‘It’s an aeroplane. Qantas.’
The next morning Flight Commander Josh Walker stood at the door of theward, searching the faces. The man in the tall blue uniform spotted his grandfather before Nurse Truman could get over to him. It was funny to see a migaloo with all that gold braid on his cap, crying, as he ran to the old man's bed.