Her old hands clutched
on the railings, and
she stepped, one foot at a time
on to each stair,
afraid of falling.
Afraid of being left undignified on
the ground, by the youth
that no longer notice the old.
Her hair was tied back neatly,
and her wrinkles gave away a sadness
that made it near impossible
for me not to take her hands.
I followed, just behind,
and she was too focused on not falling to
know that I was there.
My heart bled for her
frailty. Her fear of
her own body. Her own weakness
and the helplessness that
filled her eyes and the pained groans
that escaped her lips with each step.
I stepped up next to her and hooked my arm in hers.
She looked at me confused,
but trusted a stranger
more than she trusted her own strength,
and accepted my arms.
My name is Margaret, she told me.
My name is Samantha. Nice to meet you Margaret.
Am I keeping you from something more important, Samantha?
No, Margaret. Quite the opposite. You are what is important.
She patted my hand, and at the bottom of the stairs
she let me go.
It was me who had been blessed in that moment.
I watched her limp away towards the entrance.
Shall I meet you later? I asked.
She didn’t even look back, or hesitate,
“5pm, dear. I would be most grateful.”
I smiled, as I am sure she did.
She needed me as much as I needed her,
and it was a beautiful gift,
and the start of a friendship that lasted
just under a year.
She passed, and I mourned.
But I also celebrated the end of a frail existence,
as I know she would have too.
Be kind. Especially when it is the gift of your time.
It is the only gift worth mention
regardless of what gods you believe in.