Ageless

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In the midst of a day dismissed as ordinary, life proves you wrong. This time, it was an elderly Catholic couple with matching scapulars, making their way to the local Church at the end of the lane that did the honours.

Their gait was slow and with small, halting steps they walked hand in hand, a pair of devouts, pledging their evenings to their Creator. He was probably older than her by a few years, with his back stooped a little lower than hers and his walk a tad bit more uneven. She was merely skin and bones clad in a modest pleated skirt in brown that perfectly offset her crisp white top. Reedy olive palms that were once undoubtedly elegant peeked from dainty billowy sleeves, holding on to the gent’s forearm. Walking a few paces behind them, I was a mere spectator to the sight, watching and walking as Breaking Benjamin blasted from my earphones. And then it happened, the moment when the humid, summer evening becomes a revelation, opening the floodgates in your mind to a barrage of thoughts, words and emotions. A motorcycle whizzed past the gent and his steps swayed a little more, the lady held on to his arm protectively, gave it the tiniest of tugs and chided him in a voice that was best described as a feather. She chided him in the gentlest of ways and pulled him closer, as much as her old, weary bones would allow. Her concern for him was solid and strong; hanging in the tiny space between their weak arms. Pretty yellow flowers from the Flame tree overhead sprinkled like fairy dust over this lovely old couple, as the entire scene played out in slow motion, so normal yet enchanting in its own way.

To see something fragile yet unyielding was startling, especially when you grow up in times where words like attachment, affection, love send many running for the hills, where animated faces and emoticons replace real words with a quick touch on the screen and feelings are something you “catch” and not express, because who has the time for something so intangible, let alone another living, breathing person! The realization that we are a generation of extremes was not new, but unnerving nonetheless.

This lovely, serene sight got me thinking about the tests that their bond must have endured. Ripe and aged, their love had morphed into companionship and care. Sometimes, beauty unfurls at the end of a regular day and time parts its veil, revealing a little magic that makes a tiny part of you hoping to find a smidgen of the same someday.

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