I smiled back, it was the polite thing to do of course, and let’s not forget I’m British, politeness is what we are all about. I smiled back because they smiled first, not because I knew them but simply due to the fact we couldn’t all get past each other on the pavement at the same time and I had moved aside to let them carry on, after all they were holding hands, heads down out of the bitter November wind, of course it was easier for me to move than to expect them to allow me to walk through them and besides if I did that the would have to let go of each other’s hands.
Possibly part of the smile I returned along with a slight nod of my head was actually because they were holding hands, they had after all chosen to do so, they wanted to do so, clearly on a day like this their gloveless fingers would have been warmer in the pockets of the thick coats they both wore kept away from the biting autumn air.
I looked back briefly as they walked on, conscious of my own exposed hands, my wedding ring, looser than normal because of the cold, adjusting it slightly with my thumb I noticed that the smile I had shared remained as I realised the inner warmth the couple shared from the simple action of holding on to each other, a warmth that no gloves, coat or the diminishing of the autumn and winter months could compare with, a warmth that comes from being close to the one you love.
I turned away to carry on down the road, my smile fading as I began to think of the situation we find ourselves in after my wife’s affair, wondering when we last held hands like the couple who by now were nearly out of sight, wondering if she would have held hands like that with the other man.
Reality kicked back in, and I snapped out of my train of thought before it started to derail completely and carried on down the street. Of course I have never seen the couple again and wouldn’t know them if I did, strangely I still find myself wondering if they’re happy or living with the burden of secrets and regret, not the latter I hope.