Bill And Me Out For A Walk
By Mary Nella Mclaughlin • April 23, 2014
I was leaving the courthouse today when I noticed an old man with his walker, slumped over. I parked my car and walked over. As I approached, a woman came up to him, but he waved her off. When I finally reached him, he had slumped over again as if he were about to fall.
I walked up and asked if I could help him get somewhere. He responded that he was okay, "I'm just trying to make myself wake up."
"Can I walk with you?"
"Sure. My name is Bill, by the way. I am going home - a few blocks away."
Bill "fell asleep" many times during our walk, all the while gingerly navigating the sidewalks. He was well acquainted with every bump, ditch and slope. His job was to show me the best route. My job seemed to be poking him when he slumbered and leaned. He would light a cigarette and then forget that he had it in his mouth as he fell, hunched over the walker.
"Bill, Bill, Bill." I poked his arm each time, each time I repeated his name.
"Uh? What? Oh, I see. I am okay."
He would pick up smoking and walking like nothing had happened.
As we walked, he greeted older people that he knew, talked about the neighborhood, and his love of music. When we arrived at his home, he turned to thank me. I felt like the grateful one. I will never forget our walk in downtown Modesto.
I wanted to fix him Thanksgiving dinner and stop by from time to time to make sure he is okay. But I knew that this was the end of our story together - the story of Bill and me.
After our goodbyes, I turned to look back. He was still there, standing in front of his door where I had left him. He gave me a big wave and a grin.
Keep Walking the Walk!
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