There is a chap I know. I see him from time to time. He is about 60 and his wife of a similar age and they have three grown up sons. He may well have been gay in his early life, back when he was a London and then a Sydney bus driver. He and his new wife rented a nice old Tudor style flat in Balaclava. They then mortgaged themselves to the hilt and bought a house in the suburb of McKinnon. He worked hard, often doing a lot of work overtime and outside of work did gardening and lawn mowing. She too worked hard and they prospered. If you know anything about property prices in McKinnon, they were once quite reasonable, like when they bought their house. They are anything but reasonable now.
As a bonus, her mother also bought a house in the same street, a few doors along. She died and they inherited quite a bit of money from the house. He has also had some smart financial advice along the way. Neither are at all pretentious, she with a very nasally strong Australian accent. He can be a little bit gushing and a bit too gay at times.
We did socialise with them a couple of times but our lives were very different and we did not become great friends. They were just pleasant people, and they did buy an old piece of furniture from us once. We have been to their home a couple of times as they steadily renovated and once attended quite a good party they held.
They have travelled quite a bit and that was their plan for retirement. As he said, we have plans and we have the money.
A couple of months ago she found difficulty in moving and had to give up work. Doctors suggested it was a pinched nerve or, because he speech had changed, perhaps a minor stroke. Tests were done. He was vague about it when I asked him the results.
How many muscles are in the face? Many! When I asked him yesterday, as I write, how she was, every muscle in his face twitched. It was amazing and disturbing to watch, as his mind raced through whether he should tell me or or not. He did and I guess I am quite honoured that he trusted me enough to tell me, whereas he won't be telling many others as he does not want pity.
She has Motor Neurone Disease, also called ALS and Lou Gehrig's Disease. I knew nothing of these aside from the names. I took a crash course with Doctor Google and her outlook is not good and it seems to be one of the most cruel diseases anyone can have.
As we spoke about it, he came close to cracking up, and because of that, so did I. All our plans have gone, our lives are finished. No, I said, your plans are no longer appropriate, but you still have your lives to live and to make the best of. That was before I knew anything about the disease. They will still have a life, but it is not going to much of a life and not for very long.
Things like this happen all over the world all the time to people, but it is just a bit different when it someone who you know.