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What do I say after I’ve said “Hallo“? That’s a start, at least; I’ve put the ball in my court, so-to-speak, by asking what I, rather than some anonymous ‘you’, should say.

But I’m getting many steps ahead of the situation; she may only be going in the same direction rather than intending to walk alongside.

Will the two youngsters that seem to be in her care eventually retard, perhaps even reverse, her progress? Like children everywhere they often have contrary ideas about where they should be going.

Should anything come before a “Hallo“? A smile, perhaps? Or is just “Hallo” a rather sterile step anyway? It doesn’t have any inbuilt ‘hook’ upon which to hang conversation.

She hasn’t stopped, nor turned back. And one of the youngsters has taken several quick steps in the desired direction. Like a ‘join-the-dots’ puzzle we have four human beings more-or-less in a straight line.

Four humans. Three inter-personal distances that are constantly changing.

Shall we wait ’til they catch up?

She has stopped – alongside me. Will she continue, once reunited with the youngsters? Will reciprocated smiles be the end, rather than the beginning? Will one of the lines joining the dots disappear?

We do not know. We cannot know. We live our lives surrounded by ambiguity and uncertainty. But always we can watch the other person and do whatever seems appropriate.


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