I’m late, I’m late
For a very important date
was my thought this morning,
while rushing to pick up last minute things.
Someone said hello from behind.
A woman, who used to be our neighbor.
We’ve known her for thirty years.
She and my wife always talked
when we met in the stores.
They would jabber away beside the bananas,
Seeming to me to talk
This woman could have won
a rapid fire speaking contest,
as it always seemed her thoughts were tumbling out
as quickly as her tongue could go.
I would hover politely,
or maybe impolitely,
jingling the car keys.
They were two peas in a pod
when it came to the chit chat,
neither one wanting to release the other.
I would wander off and peruse the coffee section,
and so she and I never really had a personal conversation.
Today, she started off with pleasantries, asking about my family.
Something about her look made me lose
the inhibition I had felt about our first conversation in thirty years,
and forget about the false deadlines I had set for myself that day.
I asked after her family, and she became a little downcast.
Lost her husband to the drink.
Not dead, just separated, living in different towns.
She still drives there and takes him to work sometimes.
Drunk driving, no more license.
Their kids, now grown, were two of the quietest people I have known,
almost unnaturally so. Still are.
She did not go on about her marriage, but instead talked of other events in her life,
and people that had come and gone.
What she was getting across was feelings, not events.
So articulate. Such an open soul.
She is the first person I have met in a while
That I felt was talking to me.
Not looking for sympathy, just an ear.
Her last name is Weatherhead.
I used to refer to her as Featherhead.
I am so sorry.
Not just for my own ignorance,
but for a missed friendship of all of those years.
I’m late, I’m late