The old man sitting on the bench near the town square looked to his left as if expecting someone to walk down the empty street toward him at any minute. He seemed so engrossed in watching for that person’s arrival, I hesitated to go over and talk to him, but I had determined that the shop I was seeking was either on a different street or no longer in existence. Maybe he would be able to help.
When I stood by, I leaned down, assuming that anyone of his obviously advanced age would be a bit hard of hearing. “Excuse me, sir?” I queried, prepared for his immediate attention and assistance.
He turned his head slowly and looked me up and down. His face broke into a grin. “Well, child, what is it? Are you lost?”
I nodded and sat down on the bench next to him. Before I could explain and ask for further directions, he patted me on the knee and said, “Don’t worry. Sara will be here in a minute and things will be just fine.” He looked down at his wristwatch. “I swear I have spent nearly half of the last seventy-five years arriving at places earlier than we agreed. I just like to watch her recognize me and hurry forward, as if she is truly glad to see me again. It doesn’t matter if it has been fifteen minutes or two days, she always rushed forward and takes me in her arms, feeling me all over, as if I had just gotten up from a fall. I guess she isn’t lying when she says she loves me. There is no other explanation for her hanging around all these years.”