There is an old man who lives up the road from me. Every day, we pass each other, each on our respective morning walks - me with Boris, the old guy on his own. At first we just walked past. Then there was a nod of recognition, followed months later by "good morning." Lately there has been a "how are you" spoken as we walk by. Today as I was walking up the hill, the old man, coming down the hill, pointed at me and smiled. "You and I, we seem to run into each other a lot, don't we."
"Every day," I said.
"How are you today honey?"
"I'm alright," I lied. Completely lied. I have already spent most of the morning crying, and just now got it together enough to get outside with Bo. "And you? How are you today?"
"Well," the old guy shifted and smiled. "I get out, I'm moving and walking around. That's what counts, that's what is each day, that is what I have."
I feel my eyes well up at this. Thank goodness my sunglasses are quite large. We are somehow still walking in slow opposite directions and yet standing close.
Then he asks, "are you married?"
I choke. "I'm widowed," I manage to say, though I am clearly crying now - I can feel tears rolling down my cheeks, caught by the lower rim of my glasses.
"Oh honey. Oh honey I am sorry to hear that."
"Me too," I said.
"You take each day, you take it by each day. That is all you can do."
It's a blur now, how that ended, how that moment passed. I think we were already passing each other as he asked the question that got him that response. By the time I said thank you and half turned away, I already had tears breaking through the containment of my sunglasses, dripping off their edge.
|a photo for HBPG|