• Richard Scrimger

this is us 2


Great day to be outside yesterday. Warm, sunny, tree branches thick with buds. Walking to tennis (we play on public courts near a schoolyard, not quite as decrepit as the picture, but close) we passed a street blocked off with yellow tape, fire trucks and cop cars. A power line had come down, and they were securing the area before hydro crews came in. We chatted with the crowd, who were out there enjoying themselves. It was their street without power, but no one seemed to mind all. For now it was a definite non-emergency. Maybe it was the weather -- sunshine is a solvent, absorbing human angst. Strangely one-sided tennis game. Mir and I play pretty level, but for some reason my shots caught the uneven bits of the court yesterday, bouncing at weird angles, and my backhand, usually a high-stakes gamble, turned into a certainty. Poor girl was completely unable to cope (this is all by the way, but you don't get many opportunities to brag and I believe in taking advantage). While we were playing, our attention wandered to an old couple who were walking across the grassy schoolyard. I don't mean old like me or you, or your parents. These were ancients -- he could have been ninety or more, and she could have been his mom -- hunched, hirsute, peering, plaid-wearing lizard people, who looked like they were outside for the first time since last October. She had two ski poles to keep her balance, and moved about as fast as an hour hand. Old age can be very disturbing (last time I was in the hospital I saw a geezer in a gurney, scared and witless and alone, and I thought -- Don't ever let me end up here) but I found this scene in the schoolyard very moving. Kicking against the darkness. Later, sitting at an outdoor cafe as the sun went down, I found myself remembering that couple. When a taxi door opened in front of me, and a dapper elderly gent (hat, coat, suit, cane) emerged slowly, and reached back to help his friend out, Mir grabbed my arm, and I knew she was thinking the same thing.

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Richard Scrimger | scrimgerr@gmail.com | Toronto, ON, Canada