Twilight of a life

Haven’t been updating my blog lately (and also late on those BGC sessreps). Really all hands on deck workwise especially given end March is the end of our FY and there are appraisals and increments and wat-not for so many ppl to sort out. Sigh.

Anyway came across this blog of a really long-time-no-contact fren – in fact a senior from my St John’s Ambulance Cadet days – and it so wowed me that I felt I need to just put up a simple entry to write about it. Here’s the article.

I arrived at the address where someone had requested a taxi.
I honked but no one came out.
I honked again, nothing.

So I walked to the door and knocked. ‘Just a minute’, answered a frail, elderly voice.
I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened.
A small woman in her 90’s stood before me.

She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie.
By her side was a small nylon suitcase.

The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years.
All the furniture was covered with sheets.
There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters.
In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

‘Would you carry my bag out to the car?’ she said.
I took the suitcase to the cab, and then returned to assist the woman.

She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.
She kept thanking me for my kindness.

‘It’s nothing’, I told her.
‘I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated’.
‘Oh, you’re such a good boy’, she said.

When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, and then asked, ‘Could you drive through downtown?’
‘It’s not the shortest way,’ I answered quickly.

‘Oh, I don’t mind,’ she said. ‘I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice’.

I looked in the rear-view mirror.
Her eyes were glistening. ‘I don’t have any family left,’ she continued.
‘The doctor says I don’t have very long.’

I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.
‘What route would you like me to take?’ I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city.
She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds.
She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, ‘I’m tired. Let’s go now’

We drove in silence to the address she had given me.
It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.

Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up.
They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move.
They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door.
The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

‘How much do I owe you?’ she asked, reaching into her purse.
‘Nothing,’ I said

‘You have to make a living,’ she answered.
‘There are other passengers,’ I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug.
She held onto me tightly. ‘You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,’ she
said. ‘Thank you.’

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.
Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.

I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift.
I drove aimlessly lost in thought.

For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk.
What if that woman had got an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life. We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.

But great moments often catch us unaware – beautifully wrapped in what others
may consider a small one.

……From the pages of Zorro-Unmasked

Thanks to NCK’s blog where I first read this touching article. The moment I finished reading this article, I recall a love song.. perhaps the lyrics kinda reminded me of the old woman above who were nostalgically re-visiting all the places her love used to spend time with her.

Naked Eyes

I walk along the city streets you used to walk along with me,
and every step I take reminds me of just how we used to be.
Well, how can I forget you, girl?

When there is always something there to remind me.
always something there to remind me.

As shadows fall, I pass a small cafe where we would dance at night.
And I can’t help recalling how it felt to kiss and hold you tight
Well, how can I forget you, girl?

When there is always something there to remind me.
always something there to remind me.

I was born to love her, and I’ll never be free.
You’ll always be a part of me.

If you should find you miss the sweet and tender love we used to share.
Just go back to the places where we used to go, and I’ll be there

Well, how can I forget you, girl?
When there is always something there to remind me.
always something there to remind me.

I was born to love her, and I’ll never be free
You’ll always be a part of me.
’cause there is always something there to remind me.
always something there to remind me.
always something there to remind me.

One thought on “Twilight of a life

Add yours

  1. …because there are much more inspiring things to do in life for others than doing for yourself…always find time to give, if humanity can’t spend a moment to spread a cheer and save itself, who will save us?


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