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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Charade (08/14/08)

TITLE: Is this Life?
By Robbi McKenzie


The synchronization of their movements revealed years of life together. As they pulled into the parking lot, he parked the car and got out. He walked around to the passenger side, opened the door and helped her get to her feet. They then hobbled into the restaurant together.

They got in line and waited. He had to go to the restroom and advised her what he wanted and how quickly he would be back. We were behind them. I watched.

He was back before she even got to the cashier. They got their order and then went to their table. Oh how slowly they moved but they didn’t notice the sighs and motions of those who had to wait.

I watched. I was drawn to them and could not take my eyes off them. She was the tiniest creature I have seen in some time and he too was quite feeble in his movement. When he left to get the condiments, straws and napkins from the counter, she seemed nothing short of bewildered. When he returned, she seemed nothing short of content.

I watched. They ate slowly and conversed. They seemed completely caught up in their world oblivious to any outsiders milling about the restaurant. They were quite elderly and nature had betrayed what appeared to be youthful minds. They observed each other with nothing short of unconditional love and adoration.

I watched. As he left again to go to the restroom, her bewildered expression returned. She seemed so tiny, frail and lost in that huge chair. She seemed terrified of the world around her.

I watched. He returned again to the table. She relaxed and continued eating. He occasionally dabbed her chin with a napkin and she smiled appreciatively at his attention. They ate, they talked, they laughed. They were two people terribly in love, a body of one when they were together. Separately, they were two individuals who seemed too weak to even be in such a setting.

I watched. They rose from their chairs. She cleaned the table, wiped it with a napkin and he took the tray to the garbage as she followed. They left the restaurant and he opened the car door and assisted her as she sat down. He hobbled to the driver’s side, got in and oh so slowly backed away from his spot and left the parking lot. I imagined they were holding hands as I watched them smiling at one another as they disappeared into the distance..

“Is this life?” I asked my husband who was already annoyed with the fact that I continually stared at this beautiful old couple. “What?” he obliviously answered. “This – here and now – us – not so young – not so old – just here?” I said to him. He didn’t get it. He hadn’t stared, his manners insisted he not do so. “Do we live for now and grieve the yesterdays lost or do we live for then and applaud the tomorrows?” I asked him. Still he didn’t get it. I didn’t get it but I oh so wanted to.

I had witnessed what had to be the greatest love two people can experience. This old couple had become one. Together, they functioned. Separately, they became frail, bewildered, confused and lost. This was no charade. It was beautiful. This was real life, our elder years reminding us of what should be important in our early or middle years.

I wish I could watch them all over again. I wish I could see and replay all their moves so when I get there with my husband and partner in life, I have it as perfect as they demonstrated. I don’t want a charade – a life of pretending, wishing, drama upon drama about that which is not real. I want what they have. I want to grow old and be feeble alone. I want to grow old and be strong together with my husband provided we both make that journey. Either way, here and now, I want to start that journey because what they had …was perfection!

I want to be watched.

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This article has been read 448 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Leah Nichols 08/21/08
Amazing! You totally captured my attention with this piece. Very good job!
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/21/08
Your descriptions of the revealing actions of the older couple are excellent, and I loved your last line.
(You need a "don't" in your third from the last line, I think.)
Joy Faire Stewart08/22/08
Beautiful thoughts and very visual,I could "see" the older couple.
Robyn Burke08/22/08
Very well done!
Jan Ackerson 08/23/08
Quite lovely. I like your use of repetition, and your compelling descriptions of the old couple.