Monday, August 15, 2005


I used to dread trips to the grocery store. It was such a hassle, such an ordeal. I would wait as long as I could, until dinners became those emergency fish sticks buried in the back of the freezer "just in case," and lunches were peanut butter slapped on whatever bread-looking substance was available. Then I'd make a crazed trip to the store and fill a gigantic shopping cart with what I hoped would last me for at least two weeks. At home I'd cram it all in the fridge until the doors would barely close and try not to think about the next trip to the store. But that was back when I had to drive there. Now that I can walk to it, I don't mind going several times each week, often for just one or two items. It's become my excuse to get out in the evenings.

I hadn't planned on walking to the lake today. I thought I might walk south, down to Franklin, then over to Bunts, up to the Giant Eagle store and back to my apartment. But when I stepped outside the sky was clearing, the moon was out, the sun was setting and turning everything in the west to crimson-gold. So I headed for the more open vistas by the lake.

My life has become lonelier since Maureen left for Japan 2-1/2 weeks ago. I'm feeling hug-deprived, and moments of real intimacy are quite rare.

On the way, I came up behind a young woman about my age taking her two dogs for a walk, going along as briskly as I was. The sunset was turning more vibrant and I hoped to make the lake before it peaked and burned out. Just after crossing Clifton, one of her dogs stopped and so did she. She flashed a smile and said "hi" as I passed, and I returned the greetings.

I made it to the lake in time. There was a thin veil of wispy clouds all across the sky, and the already-set sun still fed them its radiance. I went to the fence and stood up on the guard rail to get a better view, lingering for several minutes. The colors slowly receded towards the horizon, but intensified as they went. Several boats were out in the calm waters, which glowed in their reflection of the sky.

The woman stopped with her dogs across the street and a few houses down from me, sitting on a big rock and also enjoying the sunset. Many other people were out enjoying the evening, walking, jogging and driving, but we were the only two standing still. She left just before I did, and we didn't exchange any more words, yet in those moments by the lake, even separated as we were, we shared an unspoken intimacy as the only two people who put their lives on hold to look up and marvel at the glowing sky.

Next month I'll travel to a place where no one speaks my language. Maureen is already there. Moments like this one give me hope for finding the intimacy that I so crave. Sometimes the language barrier isn't really a barrier at all.


Idlingwildly said...
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Broken Spectre said...

I've just begun to read here and really enjoyed (and related to) this one on intimacy. Travel well.