Ten Paces

I was walking the dog one day last week when I saw them again.

I’ve seen this elderly couple several times before, walking in the neighborhood together, but not really together.

The woman is always in front, shuffling her feet along the sidewalk at a snail’s pace. About ten paces behind her is where her husband is, moving his feet at the same speed. I haven’t ever seen them talking. I’ve never seen the woman wait for her husband, or her husband try to catch up to her. They are a pair, though, because I never see one walking without the other.

The sight of them and the never-changing distance between them makes me sad. In my mind I try to imagine the life they’ve had together, and I wonder if the obvious divide in their relationship was caused over time or faster, maybe with some catastrophic event.

Or maybe there is no divide, really. Maybe it’s all in my head, being a total stranger and all. Maybe there isn’t anything sad happening between the two of them at all. After all, they are still together. Though they aren’t sharing the same concrete sidewalk squares as they walk, they are still walking together.

I guess none of us can predict what a lifetime together will do to our best relationships. All I know for sure is that plan to do everything in my power to make sure that my husband and I will be walking down the street the same way forty years from now as we do today: taking each step together on the same squares of sidewalk, with the sun coming from behind to elongate our shadows so much that the only truly recognizable feature is the place where our hands are joined.


©2010 Suburban Scrawl


  • Heather

    That is sad to me too- I would go through all the scenarios just like you did, too. Even though my husband and I are in a "rough spot", I still want to be walking side by side with him.

  • Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog

    Apparently my husband and I are unusual in that we still hold hands in public. I hope that never changes. Especially since I get cold hands really easily…

  • Flea

    You really do never know. I was picking up one of my daughter's friends early last week and her neighbors, and elderly couple, were embracing in the driveway before he left for work. My daughter and I both "awwwwe"d. So sweet.

    Her friend spoke up and said that the man is the new husband, the one the woman was cheating with for a long time.

    Well then. I switched from "awwwe", to "she's kissing him in public so he won't leaver her cheating butt".

  • NYCPatty

    It's nothing I'm sure…my dad is always in front on my mom. In fact he never waits for any of us when we are walking to the car. He's odd that way. I think it bothered my mom at first but now she's used to it.

    In the house or at a party they are always together. In fact they have the best time together. They can talk about anything in the world. Dad making jokes and mom cracking up.

    Just they don't walk down the street together.

    It's SO weird 🙂

  • Tara R.

    Even after 25 years together, my husband and I still hold hands in public. I hope we still are 25 years from now.

    I probably would have been sad too to see them so far apart.

  • The Microblogologist

    1. You wrote this so beautifully it was like I was there.

    2. Sounds sad, I would so want to ask them what's up with it.

    3. Love WeaselMomma's comment!