Bip. Bip Bip. The automatic door of the train starts to close. In my mind still the last words I told her: ‘I am a crazy man’. She had looked at me and with a slight smile and had replied: ‘Could be worse’. Now the door is closed and whatever I want to reply will stay this side of the glass window. I look at her. Our daughter is holding her hand and looking at me with an interrogative expression as she would be asking: ‘papa’ where is this train bringing you?’
The train moves. I put a hand on my lips and then touch the glass while the two of them disappear from the frame. I walk down the aisle and sit at my place. I close my eyes and fall asleep in just few seconds.
I wake up when my station is announced. There is still time. Stretch my harms and get my bag. The train stops. Doors open and I am on the platform with just two other passengers. I feel suddenly alone and the urge to get back on the train and the safety of travelling in between destinations.
The car is parked where we left it. I start it but do not want to listen music for the time being. Just 25 km and I will be at our cottage. A smooth ride on a country side road. I drive slowly and arrive in 45 minutes. I crossed just two cars on the way and the feeling of solitude intensifies. But maybe, I think, that is what I need right now.
I park the car get my things and walk to the cottage. When I open the door and enter let the bag fall on the floor with a ‘thund’ and take a deep breath. I then turn around and walk out on the terrace and watch the familiar scenery of the lake and trees.
‘I did not sleep well’, is my first thought the next morning. I get up and carry my bad mood downstairs and put on the coffee machine. Get out on the terrace and feel the chilly air on my skin. Stretch a bit and smell the coffee from the inside which lifts somehow my mood.
I get ready to write. The laptop on the table. One more cup of coffee and the CD by Haruka Nakamura. I write for about two-two and half hours with the CD playing again and again its 13 tunes. I stand up and realize that the sun shines in between clouds and think that it may be a good idea to walk a bit in the forest. I put on my wellingtons, long sleeves shirt and start to walk following the lake side. I decide to head to the big huge stone which is right on the water and where we had pic nic several times during the summer.
I step on old and dry branches and my steps are followed by an echo of crac, crac, crac. I also step on soft moss which in some points is as think as a carpet. I protect my face with the hand and move branches aside. I am now just 40 meters from the stone and see that somebody is sitting on top of it wearing kind of dark clothes. ‘Damn, a Russian fishermen’, I think as such and encounter would disturb the solitude that I have searched for some time now. I consider whether to turn back or continue but when I move my first step a branch breaks with a loud crac and can see that the person on the stone turns and look in my direction. There is no going back anymore.
The branches makes it difficult to to see if it is a man of a woman and only when I am really close I recognize him as my eyes fill with tears and the whole forest and stone picture blurs into one watery painting: ‘it is you’.
When I recover I see he is looking at me from the stone and smiles. He tells me to go up the stone and so I do as following orders not yet able to speak a word. I sit there in front of him. I look at my brother not just in the eyes but his harms legs hairs as to check if this would not be just a dream. ‘It is real’, he says. I relax a bit hearing his familiar voice and step into this non-dream. He then explains that only now and then there is a possibility to meet once more. As I have kept talking to him in my mind for all these years, here he is. Until afternoon is all we have, he says without a trace of emotion.
I try to regroup my thoughts. ‘So, how are things? How is life?’, he asks me. While I search for words for a few seconds, I hear the wind gently shaking the top of the trees above us. Hear some birds singing. The small waves hitting the stone below us. Hundreds of images flash in my mind in few seconds a whole story partly told and mostly untold. I see my daughters, I see her, I see his son, I see our past, mine and his. I hear and see all this and feel part of it and understand what it means to let it go: ‘Life is good’… and so we start talking and we talk until the late afternoon when we finally say good bye.