Sometimes when things get tough I resort to being child-like. Regression, they call it. Today was no exception. I ran a bath, found a rubber duck owned and cherished by my little brother in the late 90’s, placed it on the rising water and slipped in. I washed, wiping my face with a flannel that I had found in the linen cupboard, sunk beneath the water and then, after sulking for a good twenty minutes, wrapped myself in a huge fluffy towel and resumed adulthood.
Well you are the one, the one that lies close to me Whisper’s “Hello, I’ve missed you quite terribly” I fell in love, in love with you suddenly Now there’s no place else I could be but here in your arms
I got home at about eight tonight and as I was getting my bag from the back of my car, the old man who lives across the road walked past with his shopping. I said hello to him out of politeness and asked how he was, barely waiting for a response before turning back to lock my car. As I did so I heard a voice say “I’m selling this old place.” I turned around to see him standing in the road looking at me sadly. I asked him why he was selling and he explained he was too old to stay in the house any longer. It occurred to me then that until that point I’d never spoken more than a word or two to him, despite living across the road from him for nearly 20 years. I didn’t even know his name. We spoke for half an hour, standing out in the cool evening, completely lost in conversation. He told me that he had bought the house in 1965, when it was one of the newest houses on the street. He had been proud as punch. I looked back at the house at this point and saw the overgrown garden and the dilapidated structure that would have once been a handsome property. He looked at his feet, as if embarrassed and muttered “I can’t maintain it anymore, I’m too old.” Our conversation moved on to the history of our street after this. He told me of the characters that had once lived in our house and had been afraid of him and how half the street had been stables back in the 60’s and 70’s.
It hit me how incredibly lonely this man was. He had lived alone for 45 years in that house, taking each day as it came. He had watched couples become families, people start new lives, accidents happen and people move away. I felt privileged that he had taken time to share his story with me.
Nick (I did take a moment to ask his name, despite being embarrassed that I’d never bothered to find out previously) began to stare off in thought and I felt it was time to say goodbye. I told him that if he needed someone to mow the lawns or do his shopping he was always welcome to knock on our door. He seemed rather appreciative of this. As I began to walk back towards the house he said “feel free to say hello anytime.”
I nodded. “I will.”
I won’t be so arrogant as to say I made his day by taking the time to speak to him, but I think I made it a little better. It certainly made mine a little better. Thank you for the perspective, Nick.
Fall across me. It is with outstretched arms that we call upon each other. Hoping, trying, looking for salvation in a dried up city.
It is simple, is it not? To call upon a friend and rely on them through the night. In theory, yes. Yet in practice we yearn for the lenience of guilt knowing, that while we empty, and whilst our hearts leak, Like an hour glass The other compartment fills. We grieve for that we have lost, Not because it leaves a gap, Simply that it creates a tumour.