to the grandfather in exile

‘I told you not to come’

‘Well, I’m here.’

He is, with his wrinkly face, old eyes and young spirit. All of him. I sense his energy and it hurts me. But so does his eyes, his spirit, his everything. Grandpa, you don’t understand. It is all love. You don’t understand. but I cannot explain either. Where does that leave us? 

‘So? Take me around! I haven’t been here for decades! I want to see everything.’

That is why I don’t want you here. you don’t understand, you cannot understand this kind of love. He cannot know how much it hurts to see him here. Him. Here. Separately, I love them both, I just cannot take them at the same time.

You haven’t been here for decades. So much so that this is not home anymore. Not the home you remember anyway. I realized it when we started talking. The more we talk, the more I love you, the further away you are from what I know about home. You’ve been away for too long. With you and your stories, I realized that ‘home’ is frozen in you. So much has changed, everything has changed.

The home you’re talking about does not exist any longer. The place does, but nothing else. How can I make you understand this? How can I let you visit me, knowing that you may end up realizing that your home does not exist? How can I let you visit, when knowledge of reality will steal your home? Until there’s nothing left but the realization that you don’t have a home. Not here. Not the home you remember, not the home you’ve been thinking of for decades.

‘You’re dragging your feet, son! I want to go see the football field. Does Adi’s family still run the kiosk at the corner of the street?’

‘No, both the football field and the kiosk are gone. Everything has changed, Grandpa.’

‘Of course they do, it has been decades! Let’s go!’

Here we go. Seeing everything that does not exist anymore, not in the same way anyway. The football field that is now 24hour supermarket, the remnants of Adi’s kiosk. All just traces. You can still see the soil before you see the asphalt that is now the parking lot of the supermarket. Or the wooden-board covering Adi’s window through which kiosk transactions used to happen. That has been a long time ago. 

‘Everything is different, son.’ THAT is what I did not want you to know about Grandpa; of home that has ceased to be your home. 


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