Do you ever wonder what might have happened to people who are essentially strangers to us?
Next door to my office building is a retirement & assisted living place - it used to have the word "Alzheimer's" in the name and we joked about just trading one place for the other as our minds went; usually with the assumption that too much work was going to cause such a decline.
Anyway – over the last couple of months every morning, as I've walked past, an elderly man has been outside hiding behind a pillar enjoying a cigarette. Every morning I would say "good morning how are you?" and he'd respond with a loud and cheery: "Good morning to you and I'm great"
The last few mornings he was not there and I wondered if he had died or been caught. It crossed my mind that I might never know - I don't think I would've gone inside to enquire about the health of a man having a forbidden cigarette.
I was so relived to see him back this morning that I almost said "oh thank God you are ok"…. I really had been quite concerned about someone whose name I don't even know.
The bike below used to appear near the office during the day and then be gone by evening. Then it arrived and stayed. And stayed and stayed. If this had been anywhere near I live, it would've been stripped within a few hours. After more than a month the rear tyre is flat but no-one has stolen the helmet or attempted to steal spare parts from the bike.
So, where is the owner? Did they die at their desk? Did they walk to the shops at lunch time and get run-over crossing the road? Or perhaps they developed Alzheimer's and forgot they owned a bike.
I hate not knowing….. and unlike the missing elderly man, where I could've enquired if I'd wanted to, there is no-one to ask about the bike's owner.
October 16th - I had walked past it for a week before I started wondering about its missing owner.