“My name is Ian.”
He whispered, “I am Art.”
”Oh, yes you are,” I thought.
His name is Art. He is Armenian. I think. And he has been a neighbor of mine since we moved into our house back in the Fall of 2003. Yet, we have never met. Not formally.
For years I would watch Art shuffle slowly from his front door to the end of his driveway where he would stand. And for years, I would wave or say hello. Art would just stare at me holding his left arm like it was a baby. He never waved back. Nor did he ever return a smile with a smile. Until today when he walked down the alley and in front of my house.
“I’ve noticed you can walk further now.” This simple observation made Art smile. I took the time to introduce myself. “My name is Ian.” And I waited for him. In a quiet, raspy voice, this elderly man whose toes where coming out of his socks, whispered “I am Art.”
While I did not learn much about his background, like when he moved into the neighborhood or when he had his stroke, I did learn something about Art. He spoke with his eyes. He talked with his smile. And he shared his emotions with his right hand. It was strong.
This is Art.
By the way, I didn’t tell him what I was doing, or why I was doing it. I didn’t ask for a picture or his permission to publish our moment together. I fear it would have taken the joy and reverence out of the moment. But I met him. So it counts. Probably more than I will ever know.