Traveling to new lands often gives one ample opportunities to study human nature and to gain new experiences provided you have your eyes open and you regard your fellow human beings with kindness when possible. Thus I was walking along a street in old Quebec, weaving in and out in the crowd of tourists from all over the globe, hearing snatches of conversation in many languages, stopping occasionally to take a picture, in short, doing all the same things everybody else was doing. At some point I found myself next to a very old couple moving slowly, taking a rest every few steps. They were both tall and still fit looking though at a glance they must have been in their nineties. Their hair was completely white and their faces showed that specific old age when it stops to matter whether a person is eighty or a hundred. I think that people maybe just stop aging after so many decades. What attracted my eye was the way they went about their sightseeing. They held hands, same as much younger couples all around them did. They supported each other on steps and inclines. They exchanged a few words now and then, and when they looked at each other their faces showed love and affection. I felt the warmth and smiled at them. Preserving those mutual feelings takes time and effort. It is rare that the very old people are not only “all there” but also see each other in the same way they did several decades ago. Separately they do not perhaps have the energy, the drive, but together they can still explore and enjoy the world, lending a helping hand to their longtime partner when needed.
In the evening I put on my very nice floor-length dress, combed my hair, took my clutch and went to meet my husband at the conference hall; charted buses were to take us to the conference dinner at a restaurant. ” Mommy, look, what a pretty lady in a pretty dress!” I turned my head and saw a little girl, maybe five years old, staring at me with a huge smile on her face. I smiled back at her. “She has the wrong shoes for this evening dress!” I heard. The girl’s parents, a very stout woman and a fit-looking tall man, were right behind her. The woman gave me a vicious look. Her husband glanced at me, smirked and asked his wife, ” Why, are her shoes too small?” Her face became quite purple, she grabbed the girl’s hand and stomped away. I walked on, thinking idly about the way we can preserve the romance, or destroy it. No magic on earth can make one’s feet smaller and one’s heart bigger.