I noticed Steve sitting by the front desk, and wondered if he was waiting for someone to walk with him. Yes, he was. Could he wait for a bit, 'til I was done with my chore? Steve nodded patiently.
I knew the routine. Walking six blocks up to Turk street and back. Off we went. Steve walks very, very slowly, a result of his condition. I had to adjust my pace to match his, perfectly.
Steve also struggles with words, and I had to listen really hard to catch a few bits here and there. Needing to go to the bank, trying to remember the name of one of the volunteer's dog, his upper tooth giving him trouble, dream of meeting old friends at a bar he used to visit . . .
Walking, listening meditation. Being aware of the whole experience. His, mine, and the city landscape surrounding us.
Red lights to be obeyed, uneven sidewalks to be negotiated, construction site at the corner of Grove and Laguna, oblivious dogs to be averted, . . . The city landscape is full of dangers for one like Steve whose mind and body do not operate at full capacity.
'Inside', thoughts and emotions, many, rushing through. Joy of being with Steve at every step, every word mirrored back. And the sobering realization once more, of the impermanence of life. One day, I could be walking in his shoes . . . and being at the mercy of someone else's goodwill.
In the end, much gratitude for Steve, who reminded me yesterday to not take anything for granted. Oh! the freedom to go out for a walk any time I wish. The joy of letting words out exactly as I intend them to. The safety of mind that can retrieve memories as needed.
Appreciating, knowing that I am not to cling to any of it either, as it could all be taken away.