I knew immediately that I didn't have enough talent. That my gift with words was not quite enough. I also knew, that despite this, I would try to tell you what I saw, and what it meant.
Joe and I are still experimenting with different ways to drive home. When we lived up in Baxter, there were really only one or two ways to get from Weston and Steeles to the 5th line. Now living at the center of the city, we can go a variety of different ways. Two days ago we decided to come down Yonge Street, all the way and then simply make a couple of turns after Bloor.
We both love to people watch and coming down Yonge there was a calvacade of different people. I almost always make comment about the borgs ... those people who have a telephone implanted in their ear. I think they are funny. So we point out different stores, different people, different sights to see. Then, not far north of Bloor, we see them. We both notice them at the same time. Then neither of us speaks for several minutes.
They are ancient. He is wearing a plaid shirt and beige pants and his body is cut in two with a brown belt. She is in a white dress with sprigs of pink flowers gaily scattered about. She too wears a belt, pulled tight across a tiny waist. She is folded, at the divide, and then again at the knee. She rides in a manual wheelchair that is pushed by a young stout woman. The two of them walk, expressionless, both staring straight ahead. They look both lost and purposeful at the same time.
It almost seems like they've vacated their bodies. That they'd lived too long here on earth and what was best of them had already left, and they had abandoned their bodies like old cars left to rust on the side of he road. It almost seemed thus, but not quite.
Years ago I watched fascinated as Mike installed the light over the pool table. Electricity scares me and I found myself slowly backing away while watching in fear as he nimbly used a knife to bare wire and then wrapped one wire around another. He explained to me in simple terms that the wires, now could pass the power from one to another.
And this is what I thought when I saw the two of them, walking north on Yonge Street together. Because, as vacant as their eyes looked, I knew I was decieved. They held hands, tightly, as they walked. There was passion in that connection. Like the ember of a fire that once burned hot still holds the heat, their hands held together changed everything about them. They became man and woman. Husband and wife. Love and lover. They were no longer old, they were no longer aided by another, her disability was not relevant. No matter what we all saw when we looked at them, they were still he and she and in love.
Their presence there on the west side of Yonge, was like a gift to each of us. I felt Joe take my hand and suddenly we were changed.