Thursday, May 1, 2014

Chivalry, please don't die.

The sky was blotched with heavy shades of grey as the occasional thrill of warm sunlight peered through while I walked across the parking lot to pick up my dry cleaning.

I saw them right away.  It was almost like they didn't belong on that sidewalk as they ambled together. I felt like they should be in some bountiful market of a sort in another country. Her, speaking animatedly yet seriously about something as he nodded along.  European?  I think so.  Italian?  Maybe.  The language was not one I understood but I loved listening to it.  I hoped they weren't talking about something too grave but at that age you never know.  A friend diagnosed with a terrible illness.  A relative in the hospital.  Of-course my mind isn't so dreary all the time and I hoped these scenarios in my mind were just that.

I was really hoping they were planning for their next trip to Italy for a family reunion.

They were a small yet sturdy elderly couple in their late 70's early 80's.  What is even considered elderly these days?  Perhaps they were in their 90's for all I know. Age means nothing to me the older I get.  Just as I was as a child, I am hopeless at figuring out how old people are.  It's only a number anyway.  Only a number.

I observed them together as they walked past me and a smile broke across my face.  They didn't see my smile, so engrossed they were in their conversation. She wore a scarf of pattern on her head, a beige trench coat to keep the day's dampness away.  He, an ivy cap of neutral colour.
He had his arm around her shoulders.  They were of the same height.  When my eyes fell on what he was carrying...well I kind of fell in love with that little Italian man.  He was carrying a shopping bag.  One that I could see through.  And what I saw through that bag was a box of her hair dye.  I suppose it's possible that it was for him.  Anything is possible.  But the story in my mind told me that it was hers.



1.the combination of qualities expected of an ideal knight, esp courage, honour, justice
 and a readiness to help the weak
2.courteous behaviour, esp towards women
3.the medieval system and principles of knighthood
4.knights, noblemen, etc, collectively

Or in my terms of the defintion:

Chivalry:  When a man buys tampons or hair dye for their female spouse and carries it proudly. (or at the very least...carries it)

I wanted to watch them to see where they were going.  I wanted to take my iPhone out and snap a picture of their backs retreating.  But I had errands to run and I would never take a picture of a sweet old couple without them knowing, so I walked into the dry cleaning store to retrieve and pay for my item.

I rushed back out looking down that sidewalk hoping to spot them one last time.

I did.

I watched them as they turned a corner, just as his arm left her shoulder and her hand tucked into the crook of his arm as he offered it to her.

These moments of people watching seem so intimate yet I can't help but want to stare and burn these beautiful images in my mind forever.

Like the time I saw a young teen tie the shoe of his girlfriend on the side of a street downtown while they waited for the bus so many, many years ago.

Or seeing a young boy brush away a strand of hair that's blown across his Mother's face oh so gently. It's heartbreaking as you wonder, you hope, that one day he does that for his wife just as sweetly.

Seeing a man's hand at the small of his loved one's back or her hand as it falls naturally on his knee as they sit right next to one another.

Overhearing a conversation of a couple's first date.  And you can tell they're falling in love.  You can tell because though it might be slightly awkward, there's that certain brightness in their eyes that only falling in love does.  And lots of smiling.

Today's moment watching that sweet couple gave me a sense of security, hope and peace.  Maybe, if I'm lucky, one day my husband will carry a bag with my hair dye in one hand as the fingers of his other are laced with mine.

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