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24 Years online
••• The International Writers Magazine -
Life Moments in Dreamscapes

He Remembered  - A Walk in the Park
• Martin Green
Living alone is hard to do

Paul Lerner, 90 years old, sat in his enclosed patio.  Outside, it was a gray and gloomy day with a forecast of rain.  He remembered.  It was on a day like this that she had said, “Let’s go for a walk.”

This was during the onset of Covid when oldsters like them had been told to shelter in place.
 “It’s going to rain,” he’d said.
“Maybe it won’t.  We’ll put on our hats and jackets.  Let’s get out of the house.”
“Alright,” he said.

They left the house and walked to the pond that was ten minutes from their house.  As they approached the pond, an egret, perhaps made aware of them, had taken flight and soared across the pond.
 “That was worth coming out for,” she’d said.
 “Yes, it was.”

It started to rain lightly.  He took her hand and they slowly walked, two old folk.  He glanced at her.  She was smiling.  To him, she wasn’t an old lady.  She was just lovely.  He had never loved her more.  Hand in hand, they walked back in the rain.    He remembered.

Now he sits in front of his computer.  He’s trying to write his column “Observations” for the senior paper that goes to his retirement community every month.  He looks at what he’s written and decides that it’s meaningless.  He gets up and goes out on his porch.  It’s still early and not too warm with a slight breeze.  He remembers that he wants to take his car for its weekly drive.  At his age he’s all but given up driving but still does so within the retirement community.  He doesn’t want to feel that he’s completely confined to his house.   

He drives the short distance to the park where he and his wife used to walk.  He takes his walker out of the trunk.  He no longer trusts himself to be able to walk the circuit of the park’s path with his cane as they used to do.  As he enters the park a woman comes alongside him and asks if he’s alright.  He assures her that he is.  He sees that she’s no spring chicken herself.  She’s there to walk her dog, a small one that yaps at him.

He sets off with the walker and reaches the first bench on the path.  He sits down but the bench is in the shade and the breeze has gotten stronger so after a few minutes he gets up and starts out again.  This time his right knee, as it always does, feels balky.  He reaches the second bench and gratefully sits down.  It’s in the sun and the breeze has died down for the moment.  He sits not thinking of anything and taking in the leafed-out trees.  He hears some birds singing but doesn’t see any.  He sees a squirrel, which darts off.  His eyes tear up a little.  He gets up and walks back to his car.  As he’s putting his walker back in the trunk the same woman appears and asks if he needs any help.  He tells her he’s okay.  He thinks, I must look pretty old and decrepit if this woman, pretty old herself, thinks I need help.

He drives back to his house and parks the car carefully in the garage.  Until next week.  He goes back to his computer but not to his column.  For some reason he feels impelled to write a poem.  He writes:

On a spring day
I walk in the park
Where hand in hand
We used to walk
Then sit on a bench and talk.
Now I sit on the bench alone
A squirrel looks at me inquisitively
She’s gone, I explain.  She’s gone.
The squirrel scampers away.
I sit for a while
Then go back to my empty house.

© Martin Green - July 2023

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