Life is a bunch of sensations, memories, connections that somewhat change the way we perceive everything. They can even alterate our personalities, that intrincate part of the human being that shapes who we are, and our acts tend to dance around them.
In a conscious or inconscious way, we choose every day who we are -it's not something we can't control, usually- and that influences other people as well, sounds easy and maybe it could be, but we tend to twist things, give them toppings as if they were some sort of take away noodles. Sometimes we choose right, sometimes wrong but we can learn from that, form an opinion, maybe even help somebody thanks to the taste of what we merged together. There are many flavors for many humans, some people prefer salty as the sea or spicy to feel the heat running through their cheeks or maybe even to hide their red face when shyness enters the scene; Other people prefer sweet to comfort themselves during a well earned rest or after that apparently little step or simply, in order to have something quick and tasty for dinner.
Our main character in this story chose neither of those tastes or at least, that's what he thought while waiting for his second meal of the day: plain noodles, nothing more.
He was sitting there, in his own living room, watching through the window, looking at the crowded buildings and dancing trees. Such a windy day -he thought-. He also thought about his grandma in her country house. Usually, when this kind of weather watched over the city, a fresh breeze gave a little rest to the farmers at his grandma's; she would probably say something about how the weather in her beloved seaside village always helped her feet feel ready to work. Nemea used to say: "that's you, not the weather, but you, who are always ready and full of energy" and then she would rest with her legs spread sitting in the entrance wood bench -which was also made by her- and ask him for the usual feet massage. "Or maybe it's thanks to you, my dearest grandson" and she would laugh while Nemea sat by her side and smiled the most caring smile he had.
Nemea didn't hear the doorbell the second time, neither the third, absorbed in his thoughts, he got up quickly from the window's seat when he heard the fourth ringing. He opened to the usual K Noodles delivery man who already knew he would have to insist on the bell's serenade. In fact, he was planning to compose a custom rhythm for Nemea -maybe then he would attend faster-.
-So, what was the thing that kept you today? -He asked while handing over the Tuesday's usual order-
-Nothing important, I was just thinking. -Nemea maintained his poker face, he didn't want to be too friendly, not yet, there were still a few other words coming his way before the goodbye or have a nice day one-.
-You seem to be always thinking, have a rest once in a while
-I have, while I eat these noodles, every Tuesday. -He tried not to be too edgy-.
-Well, I'm glad I get to deliver them everytime at the usual hour, with the usual "no-topping or side" request. -The delivery man smiled the "every Tuesday" way and put on his helmet, almost ready to leave.
As the deliver man himself said, Nemea's plain enough noodles always arrived on time, the day they should arrive, hot enough to eat and to gently warm his cheek and they always brought with themselves some kind of conversation and presence at his doorstep. "Maybe I should contact some old friends" but that thought was far from his routine, his "mundaneyish" way of life. Thanks to this service, Nemea always gave a not-so-little tip to his provider.
-Thanks again, I hope next Tuesday doesn't rain. -Nemea tried to sound casual and friendly, he also let a smile escape from his plain face-.
-You're always so polite and thoughtful. -Replied the voice at his doorstep while smiling and waving goodbye-. Have a nice rest!
The thing is, Nemea always ordered non-raining Tuesdays, as usual.
A few summers ago, Nemea was just getting of the bus at his grandma’s. It was a rather windy day and he could already hear the wooden entrance creak, even the sudden hit noise of -probably- some still open window.
He already knew but not because his grandma urgently called that day to the high school he was attending. He knew his granduncle was gone long before that, he knew one evening, the moment he thought he saw him there, standing in the fields, working in something he would inform as soon as he stepped into the house for dinner.
He heard his own footsteps in the mud on the road that led to the house, he started to feel his throat closing up. “I can’t show up like this in front of Grandma. It won’t do her well”, so he stopped there, watching the fields while the wind giggled through his face and he breathed deep. He wanted to be Grandma’s support, he wanted to somewhat give back all the hard work she did day after day though he knew he shouldn’t bottle up feelings.
He continued to walk and he was reaching the entrance when he felt his eyes burning, his throat closing again; and there she was, sitting where Granduncle used to seat, in his wooden chair -probably also made by her-. She quickly entered the house and came back with a white, tender blanket and before he knew, he was covered up with it, sitting next to her, his face resting on her shoulder and their hands folded together “Maybe this is the right thing to do”. He doesn’t remember pretty much anything more from that day.
-Are you sure you’re fine grandma?-He didn’t want his words to sound like maybe she wasn’t feeling hurt enough, though-. You know, you can tell me anything. -Maybe this sounded more like what he really intended to say-.
-I’m alright my dear. The thing is, we already knew. And I also knew even when I put up excuses when you told me he was different, that he stopped telling us what he had been doing all afternoon or when you said you didn’t see him resting on the porch, waiting for the tea. I did it in order to protect you and I think I underestimated you. You’re a fiveteen year old boy but you constantly show yourself as a grown up man, an emotionally mature person.
-But with mom… It was different.-It didn’t hurt anymore, it was somewhat calming-.
-Oh, grandson, you’re right, it was different. You see, when you have a child, everything reshapes, your fears, your happiness. Your mother was the biggest priority in our lives, both your grandfather and mine; when she disrupted my life, I became a different person than I was. It was my great joy but also my great worry. She always was till she said goodbye.
And I feared I didn’t pay enough attention to you.
“It isn’t fair, not even close to fair, the expectations we throw upon our mothers and grandmothers”
-It must have been hard, when she left, I think I wasn’t an easy child. -Nemea felt the responsability to show her some empathy-.
-When your mother left… -She was looking at Nemea but it felt like she was looking through him- my whole world dismantled, I couldn’t feel anything at all in minutes, maybe hours, but nothing more. You were there, and you were her child, what she really craved in this life. I had to meet her expectations, that’s what she left behind, I had to continue the path. And we talked about that many many times before. Also, your granduncle had already moved in a few weeks back, he was keeping an eye on me, not to let me forget what I had to do and what I wanted to do so I didn’t have much more time to drown myself. You were what you always were, a child more mature than you should, with your ups and downs, my daughter’s dream and a beautiful part of my journey.-She smiled with the most caring smile she could show-.
-I think you did a great job Grandma.-He smiled back-.
-I know, just never forget what Granduncle also did.
Nemea made dinner that day, it was the least he could do, he wasn’t letting the day end without eating something, that’s also what Granduncle wanted, not a day without a good dinner and a conversation in order to not forget each other’s worries and joys.
The thing with connections and bonds between people is that you can know something before it happens, such a curious thing. We often don’t know if it’s just a vivid dream, a fantasy in our heads, a hunch, a premonition, a random thought… but even when there wasn’t anything to be sure, they had already said goodbye. The three of them already knew.
Please log in to leave a comment.