Cycles III Inside

Cycles Serie III Inside. Digital photography.

| 2014

He left with the waning moon, fading into the new moon.
The walls exhale his scent, his eau de cologne, the room has an air of waiting in the gloom and silence. His quatrefoil shirts hang in the closet.
I still watch him sitting in the kitchen, looking out onto the veranda, in front of the marble counter with a metal edge. Four o’clock in the afternoon. He tunes in the fm, sits down, arranging the mate and the sugar bowl with the skill of a good baiter. In winter in his gray sweater. In summer with white T-shirt to sleep. -“Want it with sugar, dear?”, “It’s the same, grandpa, just as you like it”.
With lots of sugar; he drank mate with lots of sugar.
The kettle constantly heating on the edge of the fire, again and again; the round would restart until the final wash. Then he left everything in its place and went out across the courtyard.
At some point he would stop, dragging his heavy legs from work, from time, and open those two wooden and glass doors with a clanging sound, take some cookies out of the old tin lined with flowered paper, and spread the offer on a plate on the table. -“Eat, my dear, eat-“.
Sometimes he would look outside and his gaze would wander, like someone flying through time without anyone knowing exactly how to get there.
Lately he cried a lot. My grandmother’s illness made him feel vulnerable and sad. Even the prosciutto, which at one time had been a reason to celebrate, no longer cheered him up.

Then he ran out of air and went to wait for her there on the other side.

The caravan saw him off all over town. It was a sunny Sunday, while the neighbors woke up late to prepare their mates and change the children. In the club that he himself had founded, flags were hoisted at half-mast in front of the clubhouse that bore his name: the last remaining founder of the town.
Everything was quick, at the last minute, with the improvisation that unexpected events impose. The Friendships’ day in Argentina.
As the cortege approached the club, a line of companions and neighbors formed at the edge of the sidewalk, side by side, in a respectful and ceremonious silence. Waiting.
The car stopped there. The whole caravan stopped there. They watched the car – and he accompanied them from somewhere. So potent was the power of the silence that even the hardest of the hardened ones forcibly shed a tear. The image was one of powerful emotion for those of us who live in cities, bewildered by empty solemnities, cardboard tributes.
These people were bidding farewell to my grandfather with the most humble thing they could offer: two flags at half-mast and their presence in silent line at the roadside. I believe that somehow he also deployed his presence there and was among us.
The procession continued with parsimony. The few people who had already dawned stood respectfully at the crossroads of the streets to cross themselves and say goodbye. Warm sunshine, deep sadness.
I looked around me and contemplated the inexorability of time. Those people were going through the forcefulness of death in a simple mathematical calculation. Reaching 90 if the wind was with them.
We were all there: the first ones, the last ones, those from the middle. Those who remain from the beginning of the generations and the fresh air of those who begin to walk. There we crossed the mystery of the force that drives everything, because death and beginning are the only possible certainties.

And there are his tangos, the first steps learned with D’Arienzo, the chords of Naranjo en flor. The love for the railroads, the station bell, the sound of his slippers in the gallery. His look of underhanded encouragement as he said: -“To Poland? Are you going to Poland alone?”. The bicycle, the open cap, the metal mate, the sugar bowl with drawings. His coloured eyes, his white hair since the beginning of times. The laboured breathing, the forced naps after lunch. The weight of his body when he walked with difficulty.
Today, his empty place is a full presence.
I was his first granddaughter and I loved him deeply.