a man died todaypublished: 2014-02-11
A man died today, the way many men do. I hadn’t seem him for a few years, I had always intended to though. Visit him once more and a lot after that. He and his wife lived in the country I was born. I worked there, and returned there many times.
The first time I returned without paying him a visit wasn’t so hard. It was all the times after that which felt oppressing, not going out of guilt for not having gone. Sometimes I’d run into his son. He and I had sailed with his father and mother to Bonaire and back. A restless feeling would keep me from enjoying the encounter. After which came the hollow promises before the goodbyes.
I can hear the man’s voice in my head, both the pitch of it as well as it’s rhythm. He would throw his words out of his mouth as if they were struggling to fight choppy weather. In little bursts. It seemed he was afraid his thoughts would run away with him. He was funny too. Without being lighthearted. He would take walks and runs with his dog who died in the years that I still visited. I can picture his walk. As bumpy as his words. Yet more determined.
I light a candle for him and dig up a photo-album of days long gone. Of a time when I thought I knew what I was doing, but didn’t. He knew this, as did his wife. But he didn’t say, he never did. I remember how he looked at me when I went to show him my son for the first time. His eyes had been watery and his body calm. He didn’t say much that day.
There is a photo of me with him on the top of a mountain we climbed. We were the first of the whole gang to reach the top. The last photo in the album is of him and his wife. Beneath it I’d written “my second parents.”