In the beginning our walks started at 6 am on the dot. A few times he wasn’t there. I would strike out on my own. Punctuality is my forte. He asked if I had to be that prompt, if just a five minute lapse would be OK for me. There is no five minute lapse. But I do walk up and down our own block in a warm up, waiting for that five minutes to pass.
He told me that he has it down to a science now – to know when to come out of the house. My bedroom light goes off. That light shines in his bedroom window so they wake up when I do. But I go back into my room a few times after turning it off – back to get my watch, back for a different set of gloves, some cream for chapped lips, morning pills I have forgotten – all of that has a strobe light effect since I do those things one at a time – lights on, lights off, lights on, lights off. He gets up.
He is not fully awake but still he meets me in the front of our houses, his winter jacket wide open and his hat awry – poking fun, himself, at the multi-coloured wool toque and intoning how he now just grabs any hat from the hat box -- it could be Alice’s for all he knows. Style is of no consequence at that time of morning.
On this same topic of walking, I have a new person living with us: Reza. In the first week of winter he had fallen twice – once on his cell phone and smashed it to smithereens. By the second week of winter he was up to eight falls. Richard and I remember this as we walk – carefully skirting the black ice and sidewalks that are unshovelled. There are now mini and maxi clumps of sharp ice on the sidewalks, one foot print after another reshaping the snow. Then it freezes and every step on it is a potential ankle-breaking moment.
“Let’s take the road since on 24th street at this time of the morning, there is no traffic”, says Richard, heading off of the pavement. I follow behind him though it seems odd to be walking down the middle of the street in the city.
That morning exercise?