Monday, August 5, 2013

You're not alone

An old man was walking down the street, in a consistent and determined pace. He was bent forward a bit, his familiar cap on his head. The blue outfit strapped over his shirt and trousers, woolen socks in black slippers, he didn't look up once. Very well aware of what he was doing, he continued his way home. If you looked closely, you would see a bundle under one of his arms, held tight to his body. His other hand in his pocket, clamping his keys firmly. He didn't let himself get distracted, for he had one goal: he wanted to get home as soon as possible. The distance between him and the narrow, white townhouse was getting smaller. Nobody noticed him and nobody asked him where he was headed to. He pulled his keys out and opened the front door. He was appalled with the furniture in the hallway and started to move things around. This was no longer the place he remembered. This is not how he had left the house just a few weeks ago. Where was his favorite chair? What happened to all of his belongings? He couldn't understand and he felt sad and lost and lonely. Why could he not come here anymore? He didn't like the new place. He didn't ask to move. They made him. They said it was too dangerous for him to stay home alone. It was his home.. it was everything he owned and everything he had worked for. He had nothing else to keep him busy. He missed his garden, full of juicy goose berries and tart stalks of rhubarb. He missed talking to the neighbors and stroking the pierced coins on the railing of the stairwell. He knew they were going to come for him soon. He had been in this situation before. The white jacket people would bring him "home". Home??? This was home! That brick building he would never call home. He didn't belong there. It wasn't familiar to him and there was nothing to keep him going. He hated the place. That's why he kept coming back, not understanding why other people had moved into his house..

It's your birthday today. You've been gone for a long time now. But it's still your birthday. I wish I could give you a hug and kiss your skinny, shaved cheeks. There were always some traces of beard left on your chin, for the nurse didn't do the best job shaving. When I close my eyes, I can almost smell you. I remember the night we were at the theater, watching a play. We got this phone call, that you had fallen down the stairs, again. The little red apples in the basement needed to be washed and peeled, for you wanted to enjoy their sweet taste. The basement was dark and the steps too narrow for your big feet. What must you have been thinking, lying on the floor and not being able to get up? Were you afraid? Were you in pain? We never talked about it. I came to visit you every now and then. I wanted to take you for a walk in your new backyard. You said you couldn't. The white jacket people had told you not to leave the premises anymore. They would strap you down if you made another attempt. You had to accept this new life, although you didn't ask to be there. I liked you, I loved you. Happy Birthday grandpa. x.  

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