It’s been a long time since visiting this old house. Maybe the memories are too many; maybe the sadness of the departure is too much, I don’t know.
We used to walk for hours talking about so many things; I holding his hand and jumping from time to time, hanging from the strong arm of the old man. Listening to the stories that came every time we walked down this path, to finally without fault, end up the trip in the old bench under the trees, to listen more amazing stories about every little object and creature that could be seen around.
Fall was the time to go visit for I don’t remember what reason. A child running over the accumulated leaves on the ground, and the smile of the old man intently watching, perhaps immersed in memories of his own childhood, gone long time ago.
The wind blowing leaves sometimes, and the cold air coming in everyday with more intensity, as fall made its grand entrance to the stage of life in that remote corner of the world.
Years later, coming back on my own, just to make a short visit to the old man and have a little chat close to the fireplace inside his home.
I remember the time I came with a big smile and a heart full of hopes, after receiving the white paper with golden letters that certified my graduation to the profession that should be the beginning of an exciting life ahead. I remember the serious look in his eyes while reading the piece of paper, then the hand shaking with some emotional eyes that reflected pride and support.
Standing from the big chair and walking to a closet at the other end of the room, to grab an old bottle of wine reserved for some special occasion. A drink by the fireplace, the feeling of being supported, the continuation of himself through the ways of the little one that wasn’t a child anymore, and could be considered another adult, worth of having a glass of wine with.
Then, years later, driving the old road to the old house, to introduce to the old man the new one, the fourth in line, the one just born a couple of months before. His tired hands holding the baby and looking at him with serious eyes, as analyzing the veracity of his existence, or perhaps the pride of seeing how life gave him another step in his long road, I don’t know.
By the time of the next visit strangers where there, violating the space and the property that used to be the old man’s life. Learning then that he was no more, that he was gone, to the eternal trip to become part of the universe, the whole; leaving a feeling of emptiness in those who remained behind.
Today I came back, to the house of a stranger, to walk the trails with tall trees giving the leaves away to cover the ground one more time before winter takes place. Walking the same path done so many times in the past, recalling so many memories of the time spent with the old man.
The bench is still there, but showing signs of not being used anymore, perhaps for a long time now, but standing strong as a monument to the memories that will never die. The place where the old man and I sat for hours to talk, creating that strong relationship that cannot be explained with words…