I met an old lady today whilst out walking. We crossed paths in the park and as I sat down, she sat beside me. She was a lady of a certain age and she smiled as she sat closer. I felt slightly uneasy at her close proximity, but nevertheless, ...
I met an old lady today whilst out walking. We crossed paths in the park and as I sat down, she sat beside me. She was a lady of a certain age and she smiled as she sat closer. I felt slightly uneasy at her close proximity, but nevertheless, continued looking around at such a wonderful view.
“It’s kinda nice here.” A quiet voice suddenly broke the silence.
I turned, “Oh, yes it’s beautiful, a lovely view.”
She moved closer, “May I enquire your name?”
“Why?” I replied shocked at such a bold request.
“Oh I just like to keep them in my book, my book of who I meet on a Wednesday.”
As she spoke, she pulled out a huge journal with Wednesday emblazed across the front cover.
“It’s John, John Duffy.” I watched as she eloquently wrote my name with the time.
“My you have a strong name John Duffy.” She held my gaze as she spoke. “It conjures up imagery of trust and confidence intermingled with...mmmm...a touch of spirit!”
Taken aback, I smiled and replied, “You are so kind, and may I enquire your name?”
She smiled and quietly said, “Have you got a Wednesday book?”
“Wednesday book?” I replied with a look of astonishment,
“Yes, I only will tell you my name if you have a Wednesday book!” The smile getting larger and larger.
“Mmmm, I seem to have left it at home.” Holding her gaze, “I have a Wednesday note pad!”
“Sorry John, its Wednesday book or bust!”
“Ok, where can I get a Wednesday book from?”
“Me of course. Five pounds and a pen for free!”
Feeling quite in a fix, I reached for my wallet and she stopped me with her soft hands, “John, I was only playing. It’s Martha, Monica to my friends.” She suddenly burst into spontaneous laughter.
Martha and I sat there for three of the most beautiful hours, admiring the sunset, her recounting tales of her life. Her travels and more than anything, her beloved husband who died last month.
Martha told me a secret, she had sat at the same bench every night since her beloved Peter died, she had sat beside many a person and when she quietly said, “It’s kinda nice here.” Every person suddenly rose and left.
I was the first in her books, she always carried a book of the day in the hope that someone, and just someone would sit and listen. Someone to simply talk too if only for a while. A kind voice to reply, a friendly person to gently lean on in her time of woe.
I met Martha every day at 5pm for three months; we were like old friends greeting each other with a huge hug. I brought a hot flask of coffee and she brought the blue and pink cups. We drank, talked and talked. Martha it seems had finally found a friend to trust, but like all things and due to her age, she passed away peacefully in late June. Martha knew my address and later that month, a huge package appeared by courier.
As I opened it, a butterfly appeared, landed briefly on the courier driver’s cap and flew off.
I sighed and opened it hurriedly, and yes, it was Martha’s Wednesday book.
The driver left and I sat down and flicked thought the pages, which all seemed blank.
However, half way through was one entry in black pen.
On the next page in blue pen was simply this line.
I met a lovely man today; he listened and probably saved my life. Loneliness is a terrible virtue. I hope we meet again.
Beneath in black pen was a simple line.
Thanks John, the last few months have been beautiful.
Thanks for been a friend.
On reflection, loneliness can be a terrible affliction and if all it takes to break the ice is a simple conversation, make one.
People of a certain age were once just like us. Full of life and dreams — age does not wither the mind but in some cases — sharpens it.
Be a friend and make them visible!
We all have stories to tell, and sometimes all we seek in a listener, is simply patience.
One day that lonely person wanting a kind person to talk too might just be you!
“Be kinda and always be nicer and do it for Martha!”
(A fictional narrative to simply inspire you to converse – someone somewhere might just need your kind voice or attention)