Monday, May 12, 2008


Yesterday, my husband and I went for a walk. At one point there was a couple with a stroller walking in front of us. My husband whispered to me, "do you think they are our age?" and I said that, yes, I think they are. So my husband nodded his head towards them and motioned to me with this hand as if to say "let's overtake them," which we promptly did. As we passed them we both had a good look and later agreed that they were, indeed, our age. They had a tiny infant sleeping in the stroller, and this made us feel greatly superior to them. We started our little family when we were quite young (I was 23 when my daughter was born) and now delight in seeing others our age who still have those intense baby years ahead of them. It just cheers us up, we can't help it.

Later, as we came around a curve in the pavement just before the dog-park on the cliffs, we saw another couple in front of us. They were perhaps 15 to 20 years older than us, and each was carrying a plastic bag of supermarket shopping. I noticed that the man's hand was shaking uncontrollably, and I immediately felt sad for him, thinking that it might perhaps be Parkinson's, although I am not too sure exactly what Parkinson's is. I didn't mention it to my husband, and he didn't seem to notice, but it saddened me and stayed with for the rest of the day.

This morning, as we were getting dressed for work, my husband turned to me and said "did you notice that man's hand? the way it shook?" and I looked at him with great surprise. I knew exactly what he was talking about because that shaking hand was still with me. I just didn't know it was with him as well.

This afternoon I was walking Blue along the beach promenade and I heard a man's voice behind me saying "so that should help, but if it does get worse there's something else I could suggest." The very next moment a couple of teenagers jogged past me, a boy and a girl, and I realised that what I had heard was the boy giving the girl jogging advice. They were running side-by-side, and the girl was pushing her right hand into her waist, obviously suffering from a stitch. The boy was sweetly supportive, and the girl was all swinging-pony-tail and flushed cheeks and a tiny frown. They ran off into the distance as I smiled to myself.

But as I continued my walk, now turning towards home, I felt that shaking hand slyly come up to me from behind and push me towards the park on the cliffs. It made me look down at the abyss, which gave me a terrible fright, even though I knew that I would never jump and never be pushed. Although maybe I really couldn't be sure of that at all.


Mary said...

I am constantly weaving stories in my head about the people I see everyday.

Sömsmånen said...

Imagine you both carried that man's hands. You are quite a couple too, aren't you...
I always take great pride in talking about my teenage girls when with parents to kids in Olle's age and younger. I feel a tiny, tiny bit better because I have obvisously survived the toddler age, time after time...Fact is, I'm much more relaxed, but OK, maybe not better.

Anonymous said...

I was 23 when my first was born, too, and scared to death. Now many of my school chums are chasing after toddlers and knee deep in diapers. How wonderful to be finished with all that!

As always, Eleanor, your posts are so incredibly moving. You capture small moments so beautifully. It's dazzling.

alice c said...

Eleanor, this is a lovely piece of writing - thank you. It will stay with me.

alice said...

Age is a funny thing, isn't it. Even as I pass calendar dates claim of middle age, I am waiting to grow up.

Maybe I won't.