Stopped in my tracks

I was stopped in my tracks this morning. Walking back from shopping in the alley of the Old City I see a young woman with a cart. She is neat and clean but her cart is old and rickety. I think: That could be my daughter.

Further along I see a young man fixing bicycles on the sidewalk. The bikes are old and rusty, his tools greasy and well used. He could be my son.

Nothing is "quaint" now. I feel sad. Changing the faces of the young woman and man, it all becomes personal. My sadness increases.

"Daughter, I will help you. I will get you a new cart. It will be like when you were a little girl. You remember those times, don't you? The ribbons in your hair, the laughter?"

"And son, put down those tools. We will rent a shop with all new tools, bright and shiny. It will be like it was at Christmas time long ago. Surely you remember those days! The new bicycle? The toy cars?"

But what was I saying? I had no money for a new cart or tools. I was living on a meager retirement in a foreign country, having been blindsided by mad bankers in my own. I remembered their mother, young and beautiful, and my eyes filled with tears.
by Louis Martin