It’s hard to predict when tears will suddenly spring into your eyes when something jolts your memory of someone or something special.
I was sitting on a park bench in the shade reading my book when an elderly couple asked me, in German, if they could sit beside me. I said yes and moved over to make room for them. When they sat down, I casually glanced at the man beside me. His hands were resting on his cane – neatly folded, one on top of the other. He wore beige dress pants, a loose white dress shirt, a cap on his head – he looked so much like my Opi.
I could hear them quietly talking to each other but I couldn’t really understand what they were saying. Maybe they were talking about the weather or the laundry. I don’t know – it was just nice to hear their voices.
Eventually the wife got up and waited for her husband who moved slower than her. Then they held hands and walked off into the distance. I couldn’t help but take a picture – it was love, wasn’t it? The very picture of love.
It’s just that…when I saw his hands neatly folded on the handle of his cane, I saw Opi – with the blotches of red on his cheeks, and the gaps between his teeth, and that loving look in his eyes. Maybe it was the world’s way of showing me that the people we love never truly leave us. Maybe I’ll continue to see him on park benches, and at bus stops, and at the table beside me at a restaurant. And maybe instead of making me sad, maybe one day it will make me happy. Maybe instead of making me cry, maybe one day it will make me smile.
I think this just goes to show that you never know what sort of affect your presence has on people. That couple probably never would have suspected in a million years that their simple act of sitting beside me would have me wiping tears from my eyes…but it did.
It’s rather strange that sometimes it is the most beautiful things in the world that bring tears to our eyes. Perhaps because they are so pure and innocent – and they remind us of all the purity and innocence we lost somewhere along the way. It’s like when you hear a person playing a pretty melody on the side of the road or see a little kid’s face when she finds a feather on the ground. Remember when finding feathers used to make you so happy? Remember when you used to pick up leaves off the ground and run with a big grin on your face to proudly show your mom when she picked you up from school? I wish I could be that happy again…about feathers, and leaves, and people who look like my Omi and Opi.