We have never spoken.
I've never taken the time to stop; I'm always in a rush to get to work. But seeing the old man always makes me smile. My husband, however, has taken the time. That's how I learned that before too long, I may no longer see my "friend" on his morning walks.
You see, my husband has stopped to chat with our neighbor. My significant other knows some significant facts about our friend: where he lives, his first name, and ... that he was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer.
I didn't see the old man this morning. Some mornings I don't, depending on our respective timing. But now, whenever I don't see him, I wonder ... will I ever see him again? Is he too sick to come out? Has the cancer taken him? Why have I never taken the time to stop and say hello? Why have I never made the effort to tell him that seeing him wave at me most mornings brings a smile to my face?
I hope to see the old man again. And when I do, I hope I'm not in a hurry. Because while I may think I don't have time to stop, his time may be running out. And, I guess, so is mine.
UPDATE 04/23/2015: I saw my "friend" this morning! I immediately stopped, rolled down the car window and wished him "good morning." I let him know that I'd missed seeing him on his walks; he replied that he'd been receiving chemo treatment but was trying to get out and walk some — it made him feel a bit better, he said. I acknowledged that I knew of his illness and had wondered how he was doing. He smiled and thanked me for asking. Shortly, I drove on with a wave and a smile, hopeful of seeing him again. And thankful that today, at least, I wasn't in too much of a hurry.