Most of my bags are packed. T-shirts and sweaters are neatly folded, trousers pressed, underwear and socks are tucked in a corner of the suitcase, my new toothbrush is certainly there, with bathroom paraphernalia, crammed in a small ‘overnight’ bag. And all is tightly held together by an armor of books. No! There are not that many. Just a few I wouldn’t want to live without. And I weighted everything. Just to make sure. It’s not more than twenty kilograms. As you suggested. I do not know if there were more things I would’ve wanted to take with me, anyway. Gee… just imagine: a man’s life in twenty kilos. A man’s life in twenty pages would’ve sounded a lot better. But perhaps, it would’ve weighted more!
Till very soon!
O, brother, where art thou? How is the world you inhabit? Are there any parts of it still here? I took pictures, just in case. Said good bye to the trees in the orchard. There’s going to be a good apple harvest this year. Who’s going to pick them up? I went on a bike tour around the village. I got myself lost in the dust the tractors raised on the road. I thought – I’m going to fly… soon, I am going to be in a plane and I will be flying. The thought whirled in my head like the dust devils on the road. I pedaled on my bike until the village looked like a pile of Mahjong cards, with nice signs painted on them. I ate cheese sandwiches and tomatoes from the garden up-on-the-hill-where-everything-is-silent. I took a swim in the pond…
Just a couple of days left, a few (long) flying hours and then I will be there, with you…
Will this miss me? Will I miss this? My bike… what’s going to be with my bike? Will have to think about it. Should I give it away? My bike? Should I keep it… Just a few days!
He flew LOT – Polish Airlines. Over the Atlantic, over and under carpets of clouds. The darkness of the ocean, with white foam patches scattered here and there. Waves. He thought they were dolphins or whales jumping and splashing. Then the ocean finished. Inland. The dark-blue of the ocean became the dark-green of the forests. Towns: brown patches in a thin, nervous system-like structure.
Toronto. At first, this was the name given to a huge milky cloud, pierced with red sun rays. A funky tea cozy. Then, it was the name given to a colored patchwork of miniature houses on a brownish background. Then, finally, the city itself, his New World, was called Toronto.
L.B. Pearson International Airport. L stands for Lester. B for Bowles: former Canadian Prime-Minister (he did his homework). The airplane landed gently, on a soft cushion of applauses.
Inside the airport he was looking for directions. White letters on green boards making up English words provided him with directions. He picked up his suitcase and went towards the exit point. A swarm of people was buzzing around in a language he only knew from books and television. Now it was real. Actors and writers lost the privilege of being the only ones who could utter/write words in this language. Real people were chatting away.
He was tired. Jet-lagged. He could hear his brother’s happy voice as the car, a huge throstle, span a whole new city for him. Other cars in shapes and sizes he never saw before drove along on the highway. Traffic lights were hanging on the other side of the intersection. Blocks of flats, one after another. Skyscrapers. Ads. Ads. And the happy voice of his brother.
‘We’ll be there soon. I cooked some nice food. And I have some good wine… How do you like it?’
His voice seemed to have come from a distant era where they used wool threads instead of phone wires. So far away and so soft. Almost inaudible.
‘Ha! Jet-lagged? Just hang on for a while. In a few hours you’ll think it’s morning again…’
The world was spinning around him. Trees and cars, lights and people at crossings, so far away already… Such a dark-blue ocean, and so many dolphins!… He felt himself sinking in the comfortable seat of the car. Closed his eyes and gone he was…
When he woke up again it was already night. His neck was stiff, his face against the car window. They were in a small driveway, in front of a garage door with a blue exotic fish painted on it.
‘Welcome back!’, his brother greeted him again. He was smoking a cigarette. He did not want to wake him up when they got home and he did not want to leave him there alone in the car. So, he stayed with him. He kept his left hand over the top of the car, so that the smoke would be taken away by the light breeze of the evening. It was a quiet area. They were at home for a few good hours now.
‘Gee! It’s really stiff!’
‘I’ll give you a massage!, if you want!’
‘Would it help?’
‘It’s no harm trying…’
‘I guess you’re right.’
He stretched his body a bit and then he asked about food.
‘Let’s get in!’