Life is short. Love is action. Say, "Hello."
I met her in New York Park, on a cool day in September. She was just as wrinkled as the leaves on the ground and almost as frail. I jog that area everyday and one day I worked up enough nerve to talk to her
My name is Ann," she introduced, sticking out a small, white gloved hand as she shook my larger hand.
David you don't know how long I've waited for someone to say hello," she would tell me each day as I would sit beside her.
Days passed and I got to know Ann. She was married to her husband of sixty years and had four children.
All my husband does anymore is sit and watch the television, old people get lonely David." She would tell me looking around. I would sit with her about an hour each day and just listen to her.
I still had my mother but I was one of those people who never called except on occasion. I didn't mean to lose contact with her but my life was busy. I had too many things to do. Seeing Ann made me feel guiltier each day.
Every day I learned something new about Ann, she had worked in a shoe factory with her friend named Sue. Ann would talk about the times they had when they were younger, the fun they had and the mistakes made. She would watch as the kids would chase each other. They young people would sit on blankets. Dogs would run wild, barking at pigeons while the owners looked on. I learned her about her children. Joe and Judy had their own lives and never called anymore. Joey was somewhere on the road, at least he would call on special days. She had lost a baby in the Korean War.
She shook her head sadly, "I really don't even know what for," her eyes were filled with tears.
That was the day I decided to follow her home. I took off on the jog and turned around after five minutes. She walked slow but took in all the life around her; she took time to enjoy nature. I followed for five more blocks with many turns. She stopped at the foot of a huge apartment building with tiny windows and probably tiny rooms. Suddenly, I wondered what kind of place my mother was living in. I walked back slower to my own apartment place I was living in. The luxurious view, piano and everything I had once taken so much pride in, now disgusted me.
Shaking slightly, I pulled out my phone and called my mother.
The age old voice I'll never forget answered.
"David?" The surprise in her voice hurt me more than I expected.
I now talk to my mother every other day and I enjoy my talks with Ann. I offered her to take her shopping or walk her home but she always refuses.
Men like you have lives to lead David, don't worry about little old Ann," she would smile each time.
I cannot remember the exact day, I was jogging and the bench was empty.
My heart dropped like the snowflakes around me. The light dusting of snow covering the bench made me shiver, something was wrong. I ran to her apartment complex and began wildly knocking at the first door.
"What do you want!?" A young woman in a bathrobe came charging at me. Her expression softened seeing that it was just me, a total stranger.
Hi, an old lady, Ann, lives in this place?" I struggled to talk, not because I was out of breath but because what I was afraid of what happened.
"Oh, she was room 209. She died this weekend, funeral isn't open invitation." She explained her eyes were saddened.
"She was a sweet lady," her voice slightly cracked.
I nodded and walked away. Tears filled my eyes and my hands felt numb. I found myself in my apartment alone. I cried, the old lady who taught me how to appreciate life was dead. I wouldn't even get to pay my respects.
}I got up early that morning, it was five days before Christmas. I went for a run and I stopped when I saw and elderly man with a cane sitting at Ann's bench.
I did what Ann taught me.
I said hello.
This is my first time and I don't know where to put this but its from the song "Hello in There," by Bette Midler