Near the end
we would go out
on constitutionals
taking the air
seeing the sights
staring at families
chatting about the past.

I would ask him
about his history
and sometimes about mine.
Sometimes, the answers required prodding.
Sometimes, the walks required prodding, too.

He wasn’t healthy
and preferred to stay in
and had gotten out of practice retaining information
but his distant past
was easier to exorcise
than his body was to exercise.

I asked about his voyages
and his education
and his work history.
I asked about how my parents met
and how he broke her heart.
He answered
possibly appreciative that someone took interest.
I was indeed interested
in collecting the data
while there was still time.

His body got worse.
The walks got shorter
and eventually stopped.
There were still stories left to hear
but I found it harder to ask
without the ritual.

I still remember those walks fondly
and hope, idly,
that there might be somebody
to ask about them someday
when I am weaker
and barely willing to go out.

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