Yesterday TGP ran into a friend and neighbor at Costco. We'll call him Ed - Ed had walked all the way to Costco from 26th of October Street, a distance of maybe three miles, mildly downhill there and mildly uphill back, except for the end, which is more than mild.
Plottie rides his bike to Costco all the time but he does it for the exercise. As far as Plot can tell, Ed is walking to keep from crying. His beautiful wife, we'll call her Jan, died almost a year ago. Whenever Ed sees Plottie he wants to stop and talk. There is only one subject.
Guys don't talk. Guys don't have friends they call up when they feel sad. Guys have nowhere to turn when their hearts turn inside out, except maybe their wives. So when the one person you have who you can talk to is no longer there, what do you do?
You walk, I guess. And when you find someone to talk to, you talk. Ed is a big man, who always has a huge smile on his face, even now, when his eyes are tearing up as he and TGP lean against the checkstand in Costco.
We all do it, that smile. We don't know how not to do it.
Ed's having a memorial for Jan in a few months and we got our invitation yesterday, with Jan's photo on it, as a young woman. As you can see, she was heartbreakingly beautiful, and in all the years Plottie knew her she never changed. That's not just words -- even in pain with her hair gone she stayed gorgeous. Maybe part of that was because Jan was the kind of person who made you feel good inside everytime you saw her.
How do you do that? And how long can someone keep walking up and down these hills?