Today I stood behind a guy in line at my local cafe, the smell of moth from his jacket attacking my senses. As I watched him order, I noticed his slow movements, and his distraction. He had long hair and from behind I couldn’t tell his age, just that moving around didn’t come that easy for him. He was gently spoken, so I couldn’t hear what he was saying despite the fact that I was less than a meter behind him. He ordered and went and sat down at a table alone and it was then that I noticed that he was rather advanced in years.
I placed my order and stood for a moment chatting with my barista before taking my seat and pulling out my laptop and notepad to do some writing. At one point I looked up and saw that a lady had joined him at the table that looked to be similar in age. And in style. These two looked like they just walked off a 1970’s photo-shoot; he with his shoulder length hair, mustard suede jacket over a black button up shirt over faded jeans, and she with her latching hair and long, flowing maroon vest with thin leather trim over a black long-sleeved flowing shirt. They both sat in silence, eating and drinking while moving in sync with one another, moving items around the table and passing food without being asked.
As they continued on in silence and I continued to watch them over my coffee cup, I couldn’t help but notice how much they stood out compared to everyone else. It was like someone had pulled them out of a different era and stuck them into today. People were walking around in a range of different styles and fashions, yet these two sat in their clothes from yesteryear, lost in their own little world. What memories were they reliving? Were they reliving their youth? The mistakes they made? Or were they contemplating their future? Thinking about the days ahead and what the future would hold. Where would they end up when they were gone? Would they be alone?
I found myself wondering about how many feelings they had felt during their life, which is a big question, I know, but one my mind asked; did they look back and smile at all the joy and happy memories they had collected over the years. Or did they look back and ache at the pain they encountered, or inflicted. So many days lived and so many opportunities to spread joy or pain and I looked at them and wondered which they had chosen. Which do we choose when we are presented with both? We are all faced with the choice to bring joy or pain with our actions and at times it’s difficult to determine which choice is the right or wrong choice because what brings us joy could potentially bring someone else pain. Something to ponder for another day.
As I went about my day, I felt regret at not talking to this couple. I wish I had gone over to them and made conversation and heard part of their story. I found myself thinking about them long after they left the cafe and wondering about what they were doing, where they were going. What did their day’s look like, was it just the two of them, or were they surrounded by kids and grandkids and great grandkids? Are they loved and cared for, or are they left alone? Questions I will never have an answer for but will continue to run around my mind for days to come.