I pass her every day.
She walks one way around – I walk the other.
She is a tiny thing, bundled in faded comfort, elfin face peeking out from an old fur-rimmed hood. I am also layered in a worn jacket from way back that still coddles me like a portable sleeping bag. With scarf wrapped and hood pulled up, I am as warm as soft butter inside that yellow wrapper.
We pass each other three times each morning. Asian music wafts to me, on air – from within the folds of her coat – as she passes. She raises a slight hand and smiles a greeting – I do the same. She on her walk, I on mine.
Musing on my path, I mull over the twists and turns our lives took to bring us to this same place and point in time, two passers-by, gaining comfort in the sight of each other. I presume she lived in China for many years before coming here to live with children and grandchildren, while I lived in several states and then oversees before settling down just around the corner from her and where we walk each day.
Three times around is exactly one mile, which is all I have time for on a school day. Steve and Ollie accompany me for the first lap, but then beg off to ready the kitchen while I finish up my mile and then head home for breakfast and coffee. I am not sure how long she walks; she seems like she could go for quite awhile, keeping an easy pace for a woman of many years.
We have never spoken or stopped to talk, and I don’t know her name.
Just the same, I see her each morning and am happy when I do.
It seems a small thing, but great comfort lies in the familiar rhythm of morning.