Apr 12, 2010 | New York, NY
Apr 12, 2010

On the tenth morning, when it was all over, I went back to the bench I'd been on before it began, and thought how ten days can feel like ten months, and how much you can learn from living ten lives.

A man hobbled over and sat beside me on the bench. He was awkwardly close to my body, and he turned his face to the sun.

A woman came by with a dog and said to the man, "Where is your dog?"

The man did not answer, and kept looking at the sun.

The woman leaned closer and said again, "Where is your dog?"

"I gave it back to the kennel," said the man, not moving.

"What?" said the woman.

"I gave it back to the kennel," said the man, louder. "When my wife passed away, I gave it back to the kennel."

"Oh, I'm so sorry," said the woman. "When did your wife die?"

"She died in the hospital. Last May in the hospital," said the man, still staring at the sun.

"Because I used to see you with your dog and your wife, but now I don't see you."

The man nodded into the sun.

"You just take care of yourself, OK?" said the woman, and then she paused.

"It's just that I used to see you but now I don't see you," she continued. "But you just take care, that's the main thing. That you take care."

"I hope so," said the man, quietly.

"Yes, you just take care of yourself. You'll be alright," said the woman. "She's watching you, you know."

And the man kept staring into the sun.