Tag Archives: children

A beautiful trio

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From where I am currently sitting – in a cafe not far from where I live – I have a wonderful view of three elderly ladies, all tucking eagerly into their lunchtime special. I might not have noticed them at all were it not for the endearingly, unwittingly comic way in which having crossed the threshold, they stood side by side in absolute stillness as they watched a father struggling to get his snotty toddler to put on its coat.

“That’s your father,” one of the women said. “Yes, your father,” added another. The third didn’t speak, but bent her rickety frame to lend a seemingly unwanted hand. The whole scene was over and done with in a matter of minutes, and the trio has probably moved on from it more quickly than I. Because here I am, half an hour on, looking at them with a certain degree of fascination.

And as I look, one of the things that strikes me is that despite their scored wrinkles, the skin that literally hangs off their cheeks and necks, and the sunken appearance of their eyes – or perhaps because of these things – there is no mistaking the fact that they are sisters. At least that is what my motherly mind tells me. And it asks me how their own mother would have responded to the sight of the three of them standing crookedly around the toddler in the way she might have done with her grandchildren, their children.

I can’t imagine she would have liked the sight, because as sweet as it was to an impartial observer, it was also a public display of elderly vulnerability. I think of my own little ones, and wonder if, 70 years from now, a stranger might recognize their blood relationship to each other when they are out for lunch. I hope so. I like the thought of their emotional and visual bond remaining close, but I’m also glad I won’t be around to see their faces droop and their legs buckle. It would break my heart.

Category: Berlin, Childhood, Writing | Tags: , ,
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