The Nice Thing About Strangers

Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.

I’m Thinking Lovely

She parks in the first spot outside Arby’s, and he waits patiently in the passenger side, readying his oxygen tank as she comes slowly around the long Buick. She wrestles with his walker, which seems to want to stay in the backseat. He makes loops with the tube between his nose and the tank, he adjusts the shoulder strap, he nods patiently as she exclaims something just before the walker comes free. She unfolds it to stay upright, soft cloth over the places where he will rest his hands, then opens his door and helps him out. A gust of wind blows her grey curls, but she secures him before patting her hair back into place. He begins his slow trek inside as she locks the door and shuts it. She peers at the car to be sure everything is in order, then takes two quick steps to catch up.

She holds the door for him these days. And as her husband moves into the restaurant, she tucks his blue dress shirt into his back of his pants. It was just a bit untucked and she couldn’t help herself. He stopped and turned his head toward her slowly, as though he might chastise her for picking at him, for grooming him while he was unable to counter the maintenance. But he didn’t. He leaned toward her and she leaned in as if to hear him. Then he kissed her on the cheek, like an old couple in a commercial. She shrugged, flustered, and held open yet another door. How lovely to see in real life! How lovely to catch–at a gas station Arby’s on a Sunday morning–such an enviable love.

–Exit 312, Nebraska

My grandparents (not in the story, but close!)

My grandparents (not in the story, but close!)

25 comments on “I’m Thinking Lovely

  1. Good stuff. I’ve been at that Arby’s many times and never seen this kind of sweetness. Maybe next time . . .

  2. I can’t wait to be an oldster!

  3. Teresa Rice
    May 21, 2012

    True Love! Beautiful!

    • It was such a sweet scene. I like thinking of it both as a life-long love story, but I also like the possibility that they met on Bingo night in assisted living.

  4. Kathleen
    May 28, 2012

    There is no “like” strong enough for this. So vivid, too! Love, love, love.

  5. cocoa warn
    May 29, 2012

    What a world – if you only pay attention – Thanks for sharing such a beautiful moment we all wish and dream for. You made me feel like I knew what came before it.

  6. RAnn
    June 10, 2012

    beautiful writing. “How they met” romances are fun, but love that has lasted the years is far more impressive.

  7. Auntie Em
    August 24, 2012

    I love this! It reminds me of responses I got to my “Isn’t it Romantic” post– do you mind if I link to here from my comments?

  8. thenicethingaboutstrangers
    September 28, 2012
  9. butimbeautiful
    October 1, 2012

    It’s what we aim for, isn’t it – that lifelong knowledge of someone and love for them.

  10. Charissa
    November 24, 2012

    Beautiful and moving. Love your writing and the subject matter.

  11. journeyman1977
    November 26, 2012

    you have the best seats in the house, Paige! 🙂 a truly moving post that makes me believe that love exists.

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  13. Jeff Walker
    May 7, 2014

    I’ve been to that Arby’s! And have been fortunate to see such a scene many times out here. Thank you for capturing this.

  14. petermoise65
    August 17, 2014

    Aww. I got teary…nice

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      August 18, 2014

      Woo hoo! I’m glad I could get you choked up. I LOVED seeing this, and I think it’s still one of my favorite senior sightings of all time. (My own lovely grandparents excluded, of course.)
      Thanks, Peter.
      Paige

      • petermoise65
        August 18, 2014

        Don’t gloat. Lol. I’m still a man so I will deny, deny,deny… Like Shaggy says “Wasn’t me!” Lol 😉

  15. riccardoandrini
    March 14, 2016

    i love old photos …. are so communicative

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This entry was posted on May 21, 2012 by in Happiness, Inspiration, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , .

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