Same painting almost

| Short fiction | 2 Comments

I figured out that it was Friday again when I saw him turning around the corner and approaching the building.

Sitting in my room behind the window on the third floor, I at first did not recognize who he was because of the pseudo-dream world in which I was living. No one visited me anymore, because I was old and could not speak for some time now.

When he knocked on the door I could not answer, but nonetheless I was very excited about this weekly visit. Such a fine young man around the same age I was when I first started thinking seriously about life and what it was all about.

That damn stroke had leveled me.

"Good morning." He said in his usual friendly voice. He thought I was deafer than I really was, but I did not mind him raising his voice. Made me feel like I was being extra cared for.

"And a fine morning to you too," I thought to myself, inwardly but out loud.

"We must go for a walk immediately, such a fine day for a stroll."

Being confined all week to this room was not what one would call a most pleasant way to bide one's time, even if my mind at least was as sharp as the mind of this fine young man. Body lagging behind.

That damn stroke had leveled me. Out of the blue.

He spun me around in the swivel chair in which I was sitting, grunting ever so slightly as he lifted me into the big bad metal awkward wheelchair which I hated but knew was a necessary evil. "Here we go..."

We always started out our strolls along the water, and in the beginning we just thought together in silence, as if there was some kind of mental awareness that needed to be lubricated and applied to the right places. Spiritual awakening and acclimation of awarenesses.

Whenever we reached the woods and I could hear the birds chirping in the distance, that is when the conversation picked up. At least on his side. He always asked me the same question at this point. Never expecting an answer.

"Let's see now," he wondered out loud. "We can turn left or we can turn right or we can just go straight ahead. Which will it be?" he asked me.

I thought to myself, "let it be to the left this time around."

"Okay," he echoed my thoughts out loud, "you get it your way again and it will be left this time around. Next time it is I who decides, okay?"

It truly amazed me how in sync our thoughts were, and I found it ironic that since I could not really speak to him and tell him about it that he would never ever know it. He was reading my thoughts none the less.

The sun was shining nicely and it produced the most amazing splicing of light beams through the branches of the trees above, like a Dutch landscape painting from the eighteen hundreds or so.

"Reminds me of..." the nice young man hesitated. I decided to help him out in my mind, as in my youth I had studied the Dutch masters and knew them by heart. "Frequented Forest Road," I thought out loud as best I could but without being able to move my lips.

"Yes of course, it reminds me of Jan Brueghel!" He seemed so pleased about his so-called original idea, though he would never know that it was not that original at all. Proud was this fine young man.

I was especially surprised that he had remembered the name in the original old Dutch, spelling it correctly with an "h" whereas it was more common in the educational institutions nowadays to use the incorrect "Bruegel" spelling without the letter.

He went on. "There is this painting I really like called the Forest Road or something like that. Wait, it's on the tip of my tongue." He licked his lips with the tip of his tongue with a smacking sound and a deep breath.

"Frequented Forest Road," that is what it was. Our minds mingled and intersected and we were looking at the same painting in the same segment of nature at the same moment of spliced timed. Almost.

I really liked that fine young man, even though to this day I never learned his name nor what his occupation was nor any of the more personal things like if he was married or had any children. I supposed he did, and the truth of the matter was that I knew more about him than he probably ever would know about himself. Even in a lifetime.

Too bad I never saw him again. No one ever told me why he disappeared from my life. No one in that big white building with echoes even cared if I cared. They thought I was just an old senile nuisance not caring about anything. Little did they know.

As the Fridays now pass by swiftly without the fine young man, I know that eventually my time will also come. Just like his. And when that time comes, I will welcome it with open arms, gesturing that way at least with my mind and thoughts and that kind of thing. Only then will I know for sure who that fine young man really was. Only then will I finally have the chance to speak with him myself in real-life words and sentences that make noises out loud, and I will ask him in my own courteous way. I will speak loudly as if he is deaf.

It will be a fine reunion, the three of us together at last.

2 Comments

Okay, I know I'm not the most highly educated person in the world... the last line threw me for a loop... wonderful, wonderful story. Thanks for sharing.

Yeah, the ending pretty much blew me away too. I hadn't expected it at all, if you know what I mean.

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This personal weblog was started way back on July 21, 2001 which means that it is 7-21-2001 old.

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Graduated from Stanford 6-5-1979 ago.

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