Waiting For The Hummingbird

It had been a long time since I saw him. I guess you could measure it in years, but I will think of it more along the line of the changing color of his hair.

It was pure white now. Pre-maturely white, I would think since he is only in his early 40's.

These were my thoughts as we approached each other. It wouldn't be until after our conversation that I would understand.

Life has a way of aging us.

"Where have you been, my friend?" I asked.

"I haven't gone far but I've been there and back," he replied with a smile.

It just didn't seem right. He was always happy and upbeat. He walked like a man in love with the world. Today he dragged himself across the room as if he were now angry at it.

"So, how long has it been, five, ten years since we last spoke?" I asked.

He shook his head slowly as if it really didn't matter.

"Time is lost on those who stop looking at the clock," he said.

"So, you are living a care free life now? Maybe retired early?"

His hair now longer than I remember was not combed nor did it look washed in recent days. He had on a long sleeve shirt that was tattered along the collar and cuffs. It was one of the hottest days of the summer and yet, he appeared unaffected by the heat.

Something told me not to ask him, but it would not be right if I didn't.

"How is your lovely wife, Abbey?"

Without lifting his head, his eyes peered over the top of his dirty, finger printed glasses.

"She's waiting for the hummingbird," he said.

My brow now raised with an odd look of surprise and confusion, I paused to think how I should respond.

"In the old days they would say she had a nervous breakdown. The truth is she's in a home. She has no idea who she is me? I'm an old friend who likes to watch the birds with her," he said.

Do you say I'm sorry? Do you not respond at all?

I did what comes naturally for me. I hugged him. It appeared to say it all. He cried.

He then went on to explain that the only real thing left from her previous life was her love for birds. In particular, Hummingbirds.

"Of all the things, people places she could have held onto, it was the hummingbird that took preference over me," he said.

I could tell it caused him great pain. If there was one thing in his life he valued more than anything it was his love for Abbey.

I wanted to help. I wanted to say something that would lift him up. I wanted to take him home, feed him, offer him my clothes or new ones of his choice. Still, there was little I could say or do.

"I will see her in my prayers and you, my friend, can call me any time and I will be there," I told him as we embraced one more time.

We said our goodbyes and I watched him walk away, fade into the busy street life and without explanation or understanding, a odd sense of peace came over me.

Perhaps he would be alright eventually. I can't say a miraculous turn around in Abbey's condition would occur.

But, maybe the answer lies in her waiting for the Hummingbird.

~ Bob Perks ~

[ by: Bob Perks Copyright © 2008 (2believe@comcast.net) -- {used with permission} ]

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