We were once asked in my Family Economics class, which people, we think, have a higher chance of living longer, the old or the young? We all unanimously agreed that ‘of course’ the young. Prof. Hamermesh immediately assured us that we were all wrong! The ones with higher probability of living longer are the ones who have already covered a bigger distance in life, hence they have already ‘proved their resistance’ to various causes of death. We were all stunned back then. But now that I rethink about it, this is economics’ way of saying that ageing is a blessing.

A few days ago, I saw this elderly couple walking out of school. I kept staring at them for so long that I certainly missed the right photographic moment to frame them in the way I have imagined. Given that my framing was far from symmetrical, I was striving to understand what was about this picture that made it look so ‘balanced’ to me. And here it was; their steps, these steps that were in perfect alignment. They were silently walking, holding hands, in the exact same pace, looking at the exact same direction. For a second I wondered where are they heading to. This is a university campus, buildings are shutting down soon and just a few steps ahead of them, there is construction going on, with access restricted. But they kept walking, sure of their direction, their long coats side by side moving harmonically towards somewhere, they only knew where…

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Couple of Garrick, LSE, London, 10 March ’16


It took me an entire Tube journey from Central to South London thinking about their image, stuck in a carriage with young and middle-aged Londoners, rushing somewhere. 4 trains passed until I managed to board in Kennington. I saw the first 3 trains passing by, as I was editing the picture and thinking of how late I am for my yoga class. The 4th train found me bursting into tears. It’s been exactly a year since my two granddads passed away. By the time I exited the Tube, I have composed a magnificently touching and solemn text in my mind, I would eventually write as soon as I get back home, on how much we miss them and we never forget them. I wanted to write about the sorrow of losing your beloved ones, inspired by a picture that, in reality, represents the epitome of life…

Thankfully, I just slept on it.

The ‘Couple of Garrick’ as I named it was simply so beautiful to overtake, without stopping to notice its presence. They were walking in the very same pedestrian street that young, vibrant LSE students walk every day; full of ambitions, plans, anxieties, thoughts, dreams about the future… We all walk in different directions, holding piles of books or checking our phones. Even when in group, we all walk in different paces, like constellations of people, sharing some common patterns but situated in dispersed spots, some behind, some in the front. And, we all rush, we rush somewhere every single day. We rush to submit a paper before the deadline, we rush for the term to end, for our studies to end, for a job offer to be sent to us. The majority of us walk with little boxes in our overwhelmed minds and timetables on things that need to be completed.  And we all dream of a certain future time that everything will certainly be better than today, whether that’s the summer, our term abroad, or even our ‘accomplished’ life after graduation.

I wonder how the beautiful, well-crafted souls of these 2 people see us. Maybe they wonder why we always run somewhere, maybe they just laugh inside of them. Or maybe our rush is so exogenous to their togetherness that they don’t even notice it.

The other day, my friend asked me how it feels cohabiting with someone. I replied that it doesn’t particularly feel somehow, as you get used it and it doesn’t make a difference after some time. Besides some nights, when the most simplistic but shocking realisation comes to my mind; there is a human being right next to me, sleeping, breathing and sharing his most valuable resource in life, his time, with me. She laughed at my term ‘human being’, but I truly meant an alive, present, unique in its own ways, creature.

Sometimes the washing machine ends while I am home. I used to complain when I was the ‘lucky’ one to fold an entire pile of clothes for both of us. After my pappou passed away, I swore to myself to never say a word about it again. I remembered my grandma folding his clothes and all I could feel was how lucky she was back then; his washed clothes were proof of his presence. 

In a sense we are all lucky to be present, to have the possibility (or probability) of growing older. Maybe we should pause sometimes out of Garrick and think about it…