I feel like I know you. You feel like you know my car.
It’s been going on for years, you walking with — your husband? your brother? your boyfriend?– and me driving with my kids. You are not old, but you walk with a bend, a limp, that is steadied by your companion. Your right arm is always looped through his left. He looks younger than you, because he is sturdier.
We each wave as the other passes; sometimes you smile. I probably don’t. It’s early, and I’m late.
Once I saw you in a coffee shop and pressed my hand into yours: “I see you walking every day! I’m the woman in the blue car!” I found out your first name and the name of your street. I was surprised by how far away the street was. I have forgotten your name.
For a week now, I’ve seen you walking alone. Your partner, your cohort, your human walking stick, is not there.
And I worry. I worry that though I thought you were the one who was sick, or crippled by polio, or recovering from something I could see and yet not see, that I was wrong. That it was him, and you were his rock, not the other way around.
You walk by, still limping. I wave. And I don’t roll down the window and ask if everything is all right. I can’t bring myself to.
But I force a smile, as if to say, I hope it is. I hope.
Woman In the Blue Car