Episode One: Bruno and Alice: A Love Story in Twelve Parts About Seniors and Safety – Running to get behind

Before Canada went metric, we used to say that an ounce of prevention was worth a pound of cure. Now we figure that fifty grams of prevention is worth about half a kilo of cure. The poetry has suffered but the point is still valid, and I was reminded of that one hot day last summer.

Since my wife passed away eight years ago, I have made a habit of walking to the statue garden of a local gallery, relaxing on one particular bench off the beaten path, reading the paper in peace. In July, a woman I didn't know began sitting on the same bench every day to read.

Hardly a word passed between us but, over time, I began to get the impression that she was there to see me. Her possible interest made me think about her differently. I found myself making sure I was at the garden at exactly the same time everyday. Right through August I never missed. Nor did she. Pretty soon, I was thinking a whole lot more about her than about the daily news. I figured I'd ask her out.

I had been out of the dating scene for a while—fifty years or so—and it took a bit of doing for me to muster the courage to ask her out dancing. There's a spot not too far from my place where they still bring in a dance band once a month. I decided to ask her to come dancing with me the following Saturday night.

But I kept putting it off. Friday rolled around and I still hadn't thought of a good line to open the conversation. Nervous, I cut the lawn, cleaned the kitchen, then swept the garage to keep myself busy. In fact, I distracted myself so well that, the first time I looked at the clock, I saw that I was nearly an hour late! She might be gone! I ran out of the house, leaving my wallet, sunglasses, hearing aid and newspaper on the hall table. Hoping she hadn't left yet, I ran most of the way to the gallery.

Now I keep pretty active, but it had been quite a while since I pushed myself this hard. And the day was hot—a real scorcher. The sun beat down on me and, by the time I arrived, I was wiped. In fact, I was really in trouble. Fortunately (actually unfortunately) she was still there when I arrived. I dropped down onto the bench exhausted, heaving and gasping for breath. I hadn't yet learned the great secret of aging—keep active but pace yourself. I was fried.

She leaned over, probably to ask me if I was okay, but I never heard a word she said; my hearing aid was back in the house with my cash and shades! I muttered that I was fine and, to hide the truth (that I couldn't hear her at all) I waved her off as though I wanted to be alone.

And alone is exactly how I spent Saturday evening. The big first date would have to wait.

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