I thought of this picture right away. It’s an episode told by a Facebook user,
in 2017. The photo I brought back he took it himself and along with the story behind this photo he literally went around the web. If you didn’t happen to read it I’ll report what he said about this photo.
Two miles. From the parking lot to the seashore. A blue and crystalline sea. And he wanted to take it right there, in Sardinia, in one of the most beautiful but also more difficult to reach by car. Just today, when the thermometer showed 39 degrees. She probably paralyzed and he with a straw hat on his head to dry the drops of sweat. Three kilometers on foot under the scorching sun, with his wife in a wheelchair accompanied to the shoreline.
39 degrees, rush hour. Lucifer and the great heat must have made a whisker out of him. The whole beach was watching, while he, a man in his seventies, walked the uphill stretch on the scorching sand at midday and a half. I asked this man, who suddenly made me forget how lucky I was to be able to move on my own legs if he needed a hand. “Don’t worry – he replied with a hint of indifference – I’m used to it”. Used to what? I wonder, quietly. While the three of us pull that wheelchair and look at each other’s faces.
That man, whose name I do not mention, makes us understand that he is accustomed to his wife’s condition of self-sufficiency. The same ‘girl’ he met thirty years ago, all tanned, with whom he immediately fell in love. The same woman who is sitting there now, sitting on a two-wheeled chair, with the only weapon of a smile. Strong, true, sincere. “In joy and pain,” I think. “In sickness and in health.” We keep dragging the wheelchair. The silence is mine now. We propose to the man to take a break, that we tow the wheelchair to the parking lot. But he won’t accept. And he insists, “You’ve done enough.” Silence again. A new drop of sweat falls on his forehead. “I never leave her.” And in fact, this morning, he didn’t take her anywhere. He didn’t stop at the first beach, much closer to the parking lot. He took her to the best one, him, the husband that woman shared a life with. And he didn’t give a damn if there isn’t a shred of catwalk or support for the disabled on that beach in 2017. And I apologize for the stolen photo, but there are images that tell stories, and that deserve to be shared, with full respect for people.
She, the woman, thanks us with a smile, for being “interested” in her. They both smile. I thank them, a bit awkward. We say goodbye, we go our separate ways. I get back under the umbrella and they continue the long climb to the parking lot. In a few minutes they disappear from the narrow dirt road on which we had parted. I remain almost gazed, hoping to meet them for a second time. But maybe I didn’t have to. And, in fact, I didn’t have to. Because the silence continued to speak for them too. And then it all came back. Love, the real love, was there.
Just so much, so much respect and emotion.