I woke up this morning with the kind of start that only comes when your body is trying frantically to remind you of something your head has forgotten. I realized that today was garbage day. Bleary eyed and rocking serious bed-head I scrambled around the house trying to collect two weeks worth of garbage. I threw on a fleece coat over my pajamas and trudged through knee deep snow, grumbling the entire way in the still dark morning.
At the end of the drive I dropped my bag. Despite the -30 temperature, I stopped to dump out the snow that had began to numb my sock-less foot and saw that I wasn't the only person who was out. Next door an elderly man and woman were emerging from their home with trash bag in hand. She grabbed his arm to prevent a fall and they walked leisurely towards the street. The spectacled man waved me over.
He said good morning, introduced himself as Ray and explained that he lived next door. He offered his services if I needed help with anything and told me that his wife Audrey made excellent chicken soup- if I was ever interested.
I expressed thanks through chattering teeth and made a joke about how nice it would be to have an escort to take the garbage out with.
Audrey looked at me and explained that her and her husband always took the garbage out together. "It's silly, but it's something we always do. It's our thing, I guess you could say."
I nodded like the idea of designating 6am cold January mornings outdoors lugging trash as "couple time" made perfect sense. It didn't- it was insane. I said my goodbyes and turned to retrace my deep footsteps back to a warm home. I reached the door and turned to wave at the Hendersons and saw they weren't looking at me. They were looking at the sky. Audrey said something and they both laughed. Then Ray kissed Audrey and they began their walk inside together, linked together through puffy coats and knitted mittens.
I looked at them and realized that if they were insane, I wanted to be too.
I walked inside alone.