The gardening, the books, social drinks on Thursdays, it was only to stave off death. He enjoyed watching things grow. Watering the plants, pulling weeds. He enjoyed reading. Putting himself in stories told by greater men. He didn’t much care for the drinks. Or the company.
But he did like comparing his troubles to those of the other men. Hearing them talk about their wives or their children, having neither himself.
Sometimes he’d read a passage and put the book down, leaving a careful crease in the corner, and wonder why he didn’t put an end to it. Some life.