As they walked out of the wine store together I pegged them as a financially secure, upper-middle class couple, each about 60 years old, both about five foot eight, the woman’s hair a distinguished well-coiffed grey, the gentleman’s hair salt and pepper, grey at the temples. They organized their packages, she lightly eased her right hand around his left elbow, and they walked down Fillmore Street, either to their home or to their next chore.
Doesn’t sound like much, does it?
Nor was I impressed at the time, riding in the back of the 22-Fillmore to my beloved Haight, but the more I thought upon this little scene, the more interesting it became. You see, neither of them was looking at the other before or during the moment of connection. She was checking her cell phone for messages, and looking away from him. He was organizing their bags of purchases so that he could carry them with his right hand, and looking away from her. She paid no attention to him, he paid no attention to her. Each seemed oblivious to the other’s location or even existence. And yet she knew exactly where he and his left elbow would be, and he knew exactly she and her right hand would be, and when I wrote that her right hand lightly eased around his left elbow, I mean to emphasize easy and ease. As if they have practiced that simple connection for most of their lives–except of course that they have practiced that simple connection for most of their lives.
And that’s my current definition of a good, solid relationship.
Vonn Scott Bair