Lorenz brought plates and cutlery so that they shared the food they had brought with them in a friendly manner.
“I think,” Sue said finally, after she had thought about Lorenz’s question for a while, “that it is independent of age who wants to have something to do with whom. I am convinced that everyone can contribute a lot if they just find the right place. That’s why I’m so glad I found this shop here, because it’s ideal for my needs and I’m just as glad that you are my landlord, because without you I couldn’t have done it and I would be happy if you would continue to contribute, I mean as much as you enjoy and want to.”
“That’s the nicest thing I’ve heard in years,” explained Lorenz, “I think it’s also great luck for me that you’ve just found your way here. Sometimes life is kind to you too.”
“What do you mean?”, Sue asked irritated.
“I had a large family,” Lorenz then began to relate, “I was about your age when I met my wife. It was love at first sight, as the saying goes and what you don’t want to believe. But it was and stayed that way throughout the 53 years that we were married, despite the five children we were raising, the financial challenges and all the worries of running your own business. My wife, her name was Sarah, by the way, was always my best companion and friend. I could rely on her, just as she relied on me. The children grew up, moved out and scattered to the four winds, from Canada to Australia, from Argentina to Japan, so that in the end only the two of us remained. We decided to enjoy these years, which we now had all to ourselves again, made travel plans and many other things. But then, completely unexpectedly, my wife was torn from my side. I was convinced that she would outlive me. It was so unbelievable how empty my life was suddenly. I fell into a deep depression, a long dark night that I thought would never end. But that too ended and a ray of light appeared on the horizon.”
“What happened?”, Sue asked.
“You happened,” Lorenz replied with a smile, “It had gotten so bad that I even had suicidal thoughts. I would never have thought that possible, I had always thought of myself as a very robust person, but such a loss likes to fell even the strongest oak. And then, in the middle of this apocalyptic mood, one could say that the phone rang unexpectedly, and you asked about the shop.” Sue looked at him in amazement.
“You can believe me, that’s exactly how it was,” said Lorenz.
“I don’t even know what to say,” Sue said, embarrassed, “Of course I’m happy that everything fits, but of course I would have wished for you even more, it would have been different.”
“It’s the way it is and some things just can’t be changed,” Lorenz replied thoughtfully, “But obviously you’re never too old to get another chance.”
“But then I have an idea,” Sue explained, “I’m sure there are more lonely people in this city. What do you think if you offer courses or evenings together for people who are looking for a new connection after a stroke of fate or for other reasons. What do you make of it?”
“That would be great,” Lorenz said enthusiastically.
Together they worked out a program for workshops, chats and other events that was ready in time for the opening day. The opening itself was a complete success and the events offered were enthusiastically accepted. In fact, there were people who, like Lorenz, had to struggle with loneliness and depression. Somebody just had to provide the impetus or a way to work your way out of the dark valley. Even if you had to take the first step yourself, you found people who stood by you for the next steps. And above all, the collaboration between Sue and Lorenz showed that neither nationality nor age nor gender need be an obstacle. They only become so if you allow it or even provoke it. Sometimes it’s not so easy to tell the difference. On the other hand, it can be easy to get involved with each other, to contribute your personal strengths and to be there for each other. It’s only the will that counts.