Three times a day, Carrie-Anne and I are walking the concrete pathway around the courtyard of 8181 Med Center here in Houston. This is the exercise she’s supposed to get while recovering from her cancer surgery and reconstruction. We usually walk it twice which, I’m guessing, is probably a quarter-mile. It’s the same lap every time. The same courtyard around the same benches and picnic tables every time. Sometimes we switch it up and walk clockwise instead of counter-clockwise, but it’s the same walk to the same mailbox around the same patch of grass.
Today, at the beginning of our second walk, I mused that it would be nice if we could have a change of scenery, if we had different things to look at and enjoy together. That prompted both of us to recall the many things we have seen on these thrice daily walks.
The young couple and their infant son enjoying the sunshine at the center picnic table Sunday afternoon. He let us get close, but not too close.
The discarded houseplant that looks like it was hurled in a fit of rage from a third floor balcony. We made up our own story about how that plant got into the center of the courtyard.
The squirrel that let us get close. Eerily close. Rabies?
All the noise coming from NRG Stadium across the street. We wondered if it was a concert, a rally, a classic car show – what’s happening at the stadium? Oh, yeah. We remembered much later the Texans were losing to the Jaguars over there. It was the sound of bitter disappointment.
All that laundry hanging from a second floor balcony that night.
The lady in the bright red shirt and striped panties who accidentally left her blinds wide open last night and was moving from her living room to her kitchen. The window was closed on our second trip around.
That older man who was just pacing back and forth on his eight-foot balcony. Back and forth. Back and forth. He wasn’t on the phone, he wasn’t smoking – we don’t know what he was doing. We made up our own story.
Several balconies still decorated with Christmas lights. We wonder about each circumstance and guess how long the lights will stay up.
The calico cat that has more white on his body than he should and is orange only on his head and his tail. Really weird. Seems friendly. Then there’s the orange cat that seems like it’s from the devil.
The smell of Indian cooking and the sound of Indian music coming from an open door. It reminded us of our home in North Richland Hills when our backyard neighbors were Indian and it smelled and sounded like that every evening.
The fire ant mounds. We haven’t seen any of those since we lived in Tarrant County.
Carrie-Anne and I are taking this exact same walk down the exact same path three times a day. Holding hands. Walking slowly. Sometimes we don’t talk much at all. Sometimes we talk quite a bit about what’s happening right now and what’s coming up in a day or two. Sometimes something reminds us of our lives together for the past 33 years. We’re in a weird place right now, recovering from cancer surgery in Houston. But we’re laughing together more than we have in a long time.
It’s a blessing. This almost-leisurely time we’re spending together in close quarters away from home and work is a blessing from God. And these walks should continue once we get back to Midland.