Friday, September 3, 2010

tiny conversations...and not on Twitter

There's a possibly apocryphal attribution to Ernest Hemingway - the shortest story ever written.  It's six words, and yes, they are a powerful combination.

For sale:  baby shoes, never worn.

I noticed earlier today a new neighbour here in respite land.  We're not stickybeaks here though, preferring to avert our eyes in general going past doors, unlike the usual hospital ward phenomenon of swinging heads as practiced only 20 metres further down the hall.  But you can tell whether someone is expected to be leaving, or rather, leaving as they arrived.  This neighbour seems here to leave for good.

So I was just heading out on my evening 5 minute walking trip around the corridors when I saw the back of a silently crying man just two paces from my doorway.  As happens here, eye contact was made with a gentle and open smile; his face crumpled again and he leaned in to me, slightly ashamed, and whispered

"I've not cried since 1967.  And I didn't let her see me then either.  It's better this way."
"Is it?" I ask, nodding.

I go for my walk.  Is it a shame that so often it's places like the hospice are where we see ourselves (and others) most clearly?  In any case, I love that about being here.  The occasional simple exchange of human trust, no strings, between strangers.

1 comment:

  1. It was so refreshing to read this post this morning.