I Saw Him Today

I live close enough to my workplace that I can go home for lunch…and that’s exactly what I do everyday. Today, on the way back to work, I drove along our street and in the distance walking towards me…

…was Barry.

I stopped the car in the middle of the road, right there on a corner, and stared. Heaven help me, it’s been over seventeen months and I knew it couldn’t possibly be Barry. But still…

The young man was Barry’s height, his build, his colouring, he wore the same type of clothing, and he had the same hair style. But what pained my heart the most was that he walked just like Barry.

It couldn’t be Barry. But I sat in my car, stationary, in the middle of the road, watching him come closer and closer. I watched the walk I knew so well, unable to tear my gaze away. Luckily, the street I live in is quiet and no cars came along.

He walked along the foot path; his gait easy and relaxed. Then I realised he had earphones on, and that made him more Barry than before. He concentrated on what was happening in the ear phones, he smiled and did a little jig. Barry all the more.

I continued to sit and watch.

He drew closer and became aware of the car and the strange woman staring at him. His gait didn’t change. He came closer still. Now he was staring at me.

Everything about this person was Barry. He wasn’t close enough for me to have a clear view of his face. My heart ached for it to be my son, but my brain suddenly felt self-conscious and urged me to drive on. Barry has been dead for seventeen months so how could he be walking down our street?

I pulled my gaze away and drove around the corner and away from the young man. I had to stop at the lights and I sat staring in my rear view mirror. The young man should have come around the corner by now, but he didn’t. I wanted to have one more glimpse of Barry, but it didn’t happen.

Now, I know it was a stranger just walking along the street, doing his own thing, but my heart won’t let go of the fact that everything about the person was Barry. I never got a clear view of his face. If I had, it would have settled the matter once and for all. But I didn’t and now I’m left wondering what I had really seen…


8 thoughts on “I Saw Him Today

  1. Linda

    I see my son, Owen, too. Same age, same build, same hair, same gait, and I do the same thing…stop in the middle of a street, unaware, and uncaring whether there is a car behind me, waiting for my mind to clear. I hear the trembling strains of your voice in your throat, and I feel your pain.

    I’m so glad you found us at mysteryoriley, and so glad to be able to read your blog. So few of us really know…

  2. maree

    Karen, I know how very much you must have wanted the young man to be Barry, but all along, you kept rationalising that it would be impossible.This longing comes out of your enduring love for your son, but don’t doubt your soundness of mind. On rare occasions when I have dreamt of my dead son, I wake up grateful, almost joyous for the “contact”. The mother /son bond remains, I believe, for as long as we live. May we one day experience it again, as tangiblel as it once was.

  3. Linda, the pain never leaves me…it just gets easier to carry as I learn to live with it. I spent some time reading your words last night and will be a regular reader from now on.

    Maree, you are right. I could never stop loving my son as I know you could never stop loving yours. We hang on to the past as we can’t have the future with them. My mind and my heart are still at battle, it depends on the day as to which one is winning.

  4. Julie

    Karen, I dont think you ever stop looking for them. I lost my son to suicide in June 2004 and my heart still aches for him and always will. Take care, Julie

  5. A terrible story. I was just looking for a wordpress plugin and accidentally came across your site. Was distracted by the mention of crumbling walls which reminded me of my father’s death (to cancer) only 1 month ago. It could well have been he mourning my loss – he was only 65. And he misses my 40th next month.

    I’m sorry for your loss. I think that our loved ones are still “living” amongst us. Our senses can feel them but I believe they are kept just out of reach. A phone call with nobody there. A shadow in the hallway. Just a sliver away from our understanding.

    My heart is with you.

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