And one day, that was not so unlike any other (except for the fact that just before we had stood in front of a 400 year old oak tree and he had started crying out of wordless uncomplicated joy), he began to recall a story and ended it with “but you didn’t care.” Attuned to this habit, I calmly reminded him that I had given no indication I hadn’t cared and thoroughly enjoyed the story, that he was viewing his memories through a lens of his past suffering. But rather than become defensive he looked pensive, slowly nodding, taking it in. “It’s true. I do this. It is so sad.”
I wasn’t sure if it was I, or the tree, who had gotten through to him, but I took another bite of pizza, and smiled at him, and he smiled back, with melancholy that is borne of understanding.