People say it's easier to make friends if you're walking with a dog than if you're walking alone. Generally speaking, I think this is a lie. True, if you have a dog you will probably to come into contact with other dog walkers. This does not mean you're going to find your new BFF at the local park. The reasons for this are twofold. Firstly, you're much more likely to swap boring details about your dog and the weather than strike up an off the cuff D&M with Molly the terrier's elderly owner. And secondly because, while some strangers are in fact the friends you're yet to make, I have both read and watched American Psycho, and I know that others are Christian Bale.
So, for the most part, the few conversations I do have while walking the dog are less than memorable. Today was the exception.
There is a woman who works as a dog walker in my area. She looks middle aged (what even is middle aged? 30? 40?), but she made several joking references to her increased age during the course of our conversation, so if I had to guess I'd probably put her somewhere in her mid fifties. Originally from America, she's lived and worked in Britain for many years, and today I was lucky enough to be talking with her and a sometimes-client of hers when she started telling us about her husband.
They'd met at school, before she left at thirteen to learn a trade, and didn't really see each other until she moved over to Britain some years later. When they ran into each other again they were at a pub in Richmond, and when he saw her he jumped over the garden wall and took her on a spontaneous adventure around the town. They were separated again when she moved back to the US, but when she returned they started up where they left off without a hitch.
Throughout her 20's their relationship fluctuated between romantic and platonic until they moved in together and finally got married four years later. Which is all lovely and heartwarming, but nothing particularly special. The thing is, he died very suddenly just two years into their marriage, and she's been single for the twenty odd years since.
I found this woman's story really touching, mostly because she was so (I'm loathe to use the word average, but...) normal. She wasn't noticeably rich, or strikingly beautiful, or outstandingly smart. But my god was she in love. It's refreshing to find out Hollywood wet dream style romance can thrive in suburban London.
Listening to this woman talk also reminded me that people are often far more interesting than they appear. One of the reasons I want to be a journalist is that I really love people's stories (read: am super nosey). This story kind of made my day.