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Time to meet
by Katerina Charisi
2016-12-28 11:47:18
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The man stopped the car and looked outside the window at the dirt road leading to the top. The hill was bald on its one side with a dry yellowish dirt and all green to the other. Like it always was, he thought. If there were ever any houses up there, he would never knew. He got out of his car, walked to the rotten shack and stood before the old man sitting on the dirt, skin like dark chocolate, chin on his chest, cotton hair on his head, long and thin arms like the legs of the crane; delving the dirt with his thick fingernails.

mil0000000001_400“Howdy”, he said to the old man. He looked back at his car, then up to the hill. The old man didn’t say a word, only lifted his head so the man could see his eyes full of milk and two purple pools under them. He swallowed.

“How you doin’ old man?”

The old man moved his lips but no sound came out. The old cloth with the faded colors, stiff with layers of dust and dirt, hanging from where a door should have been, pulled back and another man came out of the shack.  He could tell that the man was his son, but the light tone on his skin was confusing. Both of them looked so dirty, surrendered to some fate of theirs that maybe only they knew, like fossils carved into an ancient cave, witnesses of changes and twists of time through the years.

“Hello back”, the other man said. He had an apple on his hand and a rusty knife on his other peeling slices, sounding like ripping paper and then putting them slowly in his mouth, eyes nailed on the stranger with the car that had stopped before them and interrupted their silent life.

“What can I do for you, young man?” kind tone on his voice, alarmed in the back.

“How you doin’?” He asked again.

The man shrugged. “We are doin’ alright. Can I do something for you?”

“What’s up there?” The man asked and knew he asked the wrong question, or the right question in the wrong way.

The thin, dirty man, turned his head and looked all the way up to the hill, eyes following the dirt road. “What? There? There’s nothing up there, just dead land. It’s been like that since I remember myself.”

They looked each other deep in their eyes. Lies, he sensed under this somehow funny dialog.

“And how long would that be?”

“Thirty, thirty-five years, more or less; I don’t really celebrate my birthdays, if you know what I’m sayin’. Could be twenty-eight, thirty-two.”

“Yeah.” He looked up at the naked top hill. He felt the stranger’s eyes on him. The thin man, finally asked what he was thinking.

“Why would a fine looking man like you would want to know about a bald hill in the middle of nowhere if I may ask?”

The man kept his eyes on the hill. “I am not with the police, if that’s what you asking.”

“You not? Right.” He seemed to think about it a little. He looked at the old man sitting on the dirt. The blind man sensed his look at him, turned his head and his faded brown pupils moved behind the milk in his eyes.

“So”, said the thin man with the light tone on his skin, always looking at the old man, “why would a fine looking man like you asks about a long dead land in the middle of nowhere if you not the police and if you not here to stick your nose in other people’s business, if I may ask again?” He sounded impatient. He put the rusty knife in his pocket and tossed the eaten apple.

The man looked again at his car behind him. “I’m just passing by.”

Then a glimpse in the lifeless eyes. The old man moved, stretched his knees and his bones creaked.

“Danny”, he said with an unused voice for too long.

“That’s right”, the man before him said. “That’s right. Samuel.” His eyes met the thin man, who stood with his arms on his sides, like the trunk of the tree hit by a thunder, all forgotten to fall down.

“Danny”, he repeated after the old man.

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