White tufts of hair cover her head. Aged and worn is her face, giving way to the many years she has lived. Her precious eyes hold a spark of hope. Sometimes when I look into those eyes, I can tell that there is also a pain that haunts her. Her husband, who has dementia, rarely appreciates the care she provides for him. He almost seems to be null to the hurt he is causing. Every Thursday I arrive and walk up the stone-covered path. I climb the wooden steps and ring the doorbell. The heavy door creaks open and a smile that spans across her entire face greets me. We embrace, and I receive one of the most genuine gifts I could ever receive, love. This is not just any kind of love. Unfortunately, society has made this word too commonplace. The love here is deep. This love bonds us together. We exchange greetings and quickly are on our way to the grocery store. The list almost always remains the same: orange juice, “mozerelly” cheese, eggs, milk, fuji apples, cinnamon raisin bread, and cucumbers. We navigate our way around the store with ease. Sometimes we run into dear friends and memories that have outlived myself. I am always grateful for these run-ins. On our ride home, we talk about everything. I tell her that I think God put us together, that He knew that we needed each other. Soft tears form in the corners of her eyes, and mine decide to imitate hers. We both know that our time together is coming to a close. She kisses my cheek and says, “You know what, I think you’re right. It’s amazing how this friendship has been so mutually beneficial to the both of us.” I can’t help but agree.
We’ve been friends for almost a year now. There have been many trips to the store and many talks/garden walks. She was quick to love me. I took a bit longer. Loving someone means so much more than I could ever know. She still is teaching me what it means to love. After goodbyes are traded, she says, “I sure hope my love doesn’t push you away,” and my response will always be, “I don’t think it ever could.”