I encountered him sometimes in the Winter of 2018. I don’t know him but what he did when I see him got my attention and inspiration. He was at mid-70 and he was learning to walk. Yes, he has been learning to walk. Again.
We were born and did not know how to walk then. When we grown up, somehow, we presumed that walking is an innate ability that comes after birth. My memory was barely recalled the time I learned how to walk. The oldest memory was when I was about 2 when my father gave me a bowl of fermented rice that was used to distill wine. At about 2 and half year old, my memory is solid when I can recalled when my litter sister was born both time and the details that afternoon to dawn event, but how I was learned to walk remained nebulous.
Eight months ago, he was learning to walk with a rectangular metal frame around him with wheels at the bottom, so he can move and let the legs move at his wife pushed the cart. It took him a few minutes to get a few meters forward. For one, I feel bad for him. I assumed he had a stroke and in recovering. He looked at the ground in front of him. His hands and legs moved with distinct jerky way. That means, that he did not a full control of his muscle. I met him a couple of times, sometimes alone on the ground, sometimes with his wife. A couples time in between, I saw him walking with a 6-leg cane. His back has not straightened up. Every step seems to be determined and calculated. His eyes never let off the ground in front of him.
One week ago, I saw him walking without a cane. He walk likes a kid. Every. Single. Step. With joys and hard work. His hands were dangled beside his torso. His knees were bending. He stayed low. It feels like he was talking to the tiles on the ground.
So why I am spending my 30-minutes or so writing about an old man that I haven’t said hello or even sure that his accompany is, indeed, his wife. Have you ever looked up on the cloudy sky, and feel better because rays of sunlight tears up the cloud with only modest brightness? Yes, seeing a person are doing a step forward, out of the comfort zone brings me hope and a simple reminder that even you loose the innate ability like walking, and even you are really old, you can learn to do it. Again.
I like running, and at 3km out, I feel like out of breath. My thought was mixed between I will have more days to try or it is not that bad, one step forward at a time, and then I will get my 5-km run.
So, thank you, for one more sunlight to my life. When I have many things, I often look up to others to reach to a new height. I was falling down, knowing that I still have more things than patients on Việt Đức hospital waiting for surgery. If I need to learn to walk again, mid-70 is doable.