• Dan Rattiner

The Sheltered World

Chris and I, self-sheltered, are going for walks with Bella down various trails nearby every day for half an hour or so. We keep our distance when we are near others. We wash hands before and after. Yesterday, we drove up a steep hill dead end road near us we'd never been up before. Nobody was around. But as I was turning the car around at the dead end, a couple sitting at a house on a second story deck on one side of the road waved at us. We waved back. Something occurred after that that would never have occurred in other circumstances. The four of us were desperate for long distance eye contact, smiling and shouted conversation. It went on for half an hour or more. They'd built the house six years ago. He was an engineer, she a social worker. Yes they knew our house down at the bottom of the hill with the lights on. Hasn't the area changed over the years? Our daughter knows the paper. What's your dog's name? They might rent part of the house out in the summer this year. What's your name? We're Flora and Jim. The whole time, the engine was running, the passenger window was down and Bella was keeping tabs on everybody. Meanwhile the unspoken topic was never touched upon.

--Dan Rattiner


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