The little things?
The little moments?
They aren’t little …
I noticed the two of them shortly after I arrived for my shift. I was standing at the counter, immersed in a chart, when out of the corner of my eye, I saw them walk out of their treatment room. Together.
Slowly, they walked into the hallway, looking first to their left and then to their right, wondering which way to go. One of them pointed down the hallway, grabbed the other’s pale hand, and they began to walk toward their destination.
They were obviously in-sync and comfortable with one another, leaning into one another with each step. They continued to hold each other’s hand as they approached me, and my eyes locked onto their steadfast grip. As they neared where I was standing, I smiled at the both of them and was rewarded with a return smile from each, doubling my investment.
“Can I help either of you?” I asked, studying their faces as they gave me their attention. Faces etched with contentment.
“No, thank you.” It was said in unison. “We’re just heading to the bathroom,” added the one.
They passed me at a slow pace, and I continued to watch the caring that was quite evident between the two. It was my privilege, really, to observe and absorb their abounding love and obvious comfort with one another, something I don’t see nearly enough in my job. Or in life.
The bathroom was just 30 or so feet past me and, with no pressing patient concerns, I decided to continue watching. Their entwined hands, which had mesmerized me on their approach, looked even more beautiful and innocent, swinging in unison as they passed and continued down the hallway, away from me. They were talking, hushed, and I noticed how their conversation was steady. Occasionally, one would steal a glance at the other.
They made it to the bathroom. The one gingerly pushed the door open for the other, helping him into the room before stepping back out into the hallway and shutting the door. Several minutes later, after some brief privacy and a few loving knocks, the door opened, and they reunited. Hands were reclasped. Smiles were exchanged. Gingerly, they made their way back down the hallway towards me and their room. Passing by me again, they both nodded.
We exchanged pleasantries. “Have a nice day” was met with “And the same to you.” I wanted to say so much more but decided to just enjoy this moment.
They passed me, and I turned to watch their final few steps. Ginger steps that were unhurried and conscious. Again, hands were swung, bodies were leaned into, and familiarity enveloped their every move. I basked in their uniqueness, their special bond, hopeful that they realized just how blessed they were to have one another.
They arrived at their door and, just like with the bathroom, the older gentleman walked into the room first. Helped by the other, who followed.
How blessed was I to witness this true love story. Between …
An elderly father and his grown son.
“StorytellERdoc” is an emergency physician who blogs at his self-titled site, StorytellERdoc.
Image credit: Shutterstock.com