(Dedicated to my “trail-talk” gals — you know who you are).
Almost every day on my way to work I see three older Asian men either walking along the avenue or sitting on a bench and chatting together. They never seem to be in a hurry, and everything about them seems gentle and calming.
When I first started noticing them, all three were ambling along the sidewalk, hands gesturing in easy conversation. This was probably six months ago, the first time I noticed them, and after days of seeing them walking along the same sidewalk, just like clockwork, I found myself looking for them every morning.
Then one morning, a couple months later, one of the men was leaning on a cane as he walked, but still they strolled together along the sidewalk, though the pace had slowed. They seemed to spend more time sitting on the bench to accommodate their friend with the cane, watching the morning go by, sometimes conversing, sometimes just quietly enjoying one another’s company.
At the beginning of the summer, only two of the men walked the sidewalk, never missing a day despite missing their companion. It saddened me to think one of them might be gone. I never hear what they are saying as I drive by, I only see their faces and gestures, but I recognize the bond of close friendship, and I feel a connection with them. I have two friends from Minnesota who are my best walking friends, and when together, we share everything from the trivial to the traumatic. We only get to walk together about once a year now, but as soon as we start out we instantly slip back to the easy companionship that we’ve always known. I imagine these three men are similar in their friendship, and it just isn’t quite the same if one of the three is gone.
I smile whenever I drive by them. I enjoy their easy friendship and I think about the important friends in my life. So the day that I saw the two men walking slowly up the sidewalk toward their bench pushing the wheelchair of their third friend, I got a bit teary!
Photo taken as I drove by, so not the quality I would like it to be…
The three men are an important part of my morning routine, now. I wonder about them when I don’t see them, and I feel contented when I do — two of them sitting on the bench and one in the wheelchair, enjoying each other’s company.