I picked her up from a neighbourhood grocery store. She was middle-aged and the years hadn’t dealt her a great hand.
“I’m sorry” she said apologetically “it’s a short ride”
“It’s okay” I said “I do all sorts”
I asked her if she wanted me to open the boot – no, she was good with her groceries in the back seat.
Blue eyes, dyed dark hair, lined face, apologetic smile.
“How’s your day been?” I ask
“ah you know” she answered, “just got back from the South Island to see my dad”
“How was he?”
“Not good to be honest, it’s his last days. He has stopped eating except for one glass of milk a day – He’s Norwegian, they drink milk”
“ah so sorry to hear this, at least you got to see him now”
“Yes” she said. “It reminds me of my daughter when she got brain cancer”
“Oh no” I said “I”m so sorry”
“She died thirty days after the diagnosis”
I paused and then said “You must have felt like hey, wait a minute I need to get used to this – SLOW DOWN!”
She said yes. Exactly.
I said “I’m sorry for your loss”
She said quietly “thank you”. I wanted to hug her.
We arrived at her place. There was a BMW in the driveway. 12 minutes had elapsed since picking her up.
If you are willing to listen you can learn a lot in 12 minutes.