• Melissa Volker

Mr. and Mrs. M

I'm not sure how long they've been together -- I saw them for the first time last year -- but I think it's been a while now. It's clearly a lifelong commitment. I can tell from the way he walks beside her, keeping close, taking care; or sometimes taking the lead, stopping when she does, waiting patiently for whatever made her pause.

They are sweet to watch.

They come down the street every evening at the early dinner hour, waddling slowly along together, often close enough to brush against one another, then sometimes drifting away, but never too far.

It's clearly a daily ritual, this walk together. One they've been doing for as long as they've been together, and one they will continue until one of them is left alone. Usually they walk in silence, but once in a while you can hear them softly chattering to one another. He is protective of her, wary of passersby, particularly last year when she struggled a bit to walk, a limp in her gate showing injury, or age, and although she seemed to manage fine, he did not stray far from her side, and reprimanded anyone who got too close.

They are sweet to watch.

Together they wander down the street, from where I'm not certain, but their destination is the house on the corner across from us. They make their slow, casual stroll in the steep afternoon sun, across lawns to stay out of the street (cars can whiz by a bit fast!), turning into the driveway of the blue house on the corner for a visit and a bite to eat. A short time later, if you are still out to see, they reappear from near the deck behind the house, and begin the same, slow stroll in the opposite direction, back up the road a ways,

side-by-side, comfortably together, ready to wind down the day.

If you keep watching, sometimes you'll see them get a little spry; a little waggle, or a short-legged two-step. But always together, not too far apart, him always checking that she is there, nearby, still with him, still safe.

They are so very sweet.

Up the road, across the street, and back home. Wherever that is.

But tomorrow, they'll come back again.

And I think how sad I'll be the day that the sun sits low in the sky, but they do not come.


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