My article this week is dedicated to a dear friend who lives across the pond and is a member of the "Four Chicken Club". We are all tested in life with difficult times; my thoughts and prayers go out to you in the hope that you regain your strength and take a step towards the road to recovery. It may be a long journey, but stay strong, hold onto your faith and optimism. I wanted to bring a smile to your face, so am recounting an amusing tale of a chance meeting that happened recently.
My husband decided to take me out for the morning, as I rarely leave the house now days. We went to our favourite café in a busy bohemian street in the centre of town. The coffee is good and they serve delicious toasted bagels - what more could one want? It's one of those places one can sit for hours 'people watching'. We polished off our bagels, and the waitress cleared the table. I clutched my coffee cup as I hadn't quite finished. My husband had a few errands to run and the shops he wanted were very close by, so he left me at the table sipping the last of my coffee whilst he quickly shot off telling me "I wont be long". That morning my legs felt weak and tired, so I was quite happy to sit watching all the comings and goings. It was good to get out of the house, the sun was shining and I felt quite content and at peace.
A man sat down at the next table and smiled at me. I smiled back at the stranger, and found he then waved his walking stick in the air at me, and pointed at my crutches perched beside my chair. I smiled again and nodded as if to say, I understood we both need help walking. Before I could avert my gaze, he got up and moved towards my table. Without asking, pulling out a chair he sat down. As I looked at him, a little taken aback, I immediately spotted the very familiar signs of a resting tremor in his hands. He was a fellow Parkinson's sufferer!
There's nothing like a tremor or dyskinesia to break the ice, and we immediately started comparing symptoms and talking of medications and the things we found difficult and could no longer do. After talking for a while, he asked me if I would like to go on a date and have dinner some time. I was completely dumbfounded! I sat open mouthed, astonished at his boldness, and couldn't believe I was being "picked up"! I quickly came to my senses, and blurted out "I'm a happily married woman, and my husband will be back any minute." My new Parkinson acquaintance, undeterred continued to tell me I was a lovely interesting lady and he'd like to get to know me better.
Having a sense of humour, I found myself smiling at this absurd scenario and couldn't resist saying, "If you read my blog, you'd realise I have a wonderful husband who I adore." The man stopped smiling and went white, realising we had not exchanged names yet, he cautiously asked my name.
"I'm Elaine....." I said, but before finishing the sentence, he interrupted and said "Benton?"
"Yes" I said, amazed he knew my surname.
"I follow your blog" he told me. Enjoying reading my articles, he especially loved the way I speak affectionately about my darling husband.
"Your husband's a lucky man" he said, getting up from his chair. "It was very nice to meet you, but I'll now leave you to your coffee."
Before he shuffled away, I asked him if I could write about this chance meeting in an article, promising not to divulge his identity. He nodded his head vigorously and smiled at me, "Only if you mention how handsome I am! Does this mean I'm your inspiration for today?"
"You are indeed" I told him.
A few moments later, my husband returned holding several shopping bags. "Sorry I took longer than expected. Hope you weren't bored waiting for me?" he asked sitting down in the chair that had just been vacated by my Parkinson pursuer. "No not at all" I replied with a big grin on my face. "I met someone." "Oh that's nice. Who was it?" "It's a long story" I told him, "I'll tell you about it on the way home.
So despite having Gaucher and Parkinson's disease, 'I've still got it'! If the handsome gentleman with a soft American accent I met at a café is reading this article - thank you so much for making my day!