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  • Monika Skarzynska

A man, who was not afraid of death

Close to me stood an old but still handsome man.

- May I sit next to you, Miss? - He asked, looking directly at me.

- Sure - I said politely.

The older man took a seat next to me, I came back to observing people.

While travelling by bus, if don’t read a book, I “read” people. I become a silent viewer of surroundings. They tell me a story through a facial expression, gesticulation or voice tembre.


This time I fixed my sight on a smile of another older man from the opposite side. The smile’s receiver was his peer, a lady in her Eighties. She answered him with a surprised reaction, hiding her face with her hand and saying:

-I am not angry, just give me a break!

And he was still grinning at her, coming even closer. He was standing, she was sitting.

She: reluctant. Him: sympathetically, but with indirect speech, more to the people around them than to her:

- How can someone be angry for so many years? Several years? Well, how? - he repeats.

I continued watching them. They talked for a moment. She even half-smiled to him. I didn’t hear what they were talking about.

We passed by several stops.

The lady stood up. In one hand she was carying a crutch, in second a shopping bag. The old friend tried to support her.

-Give me your bag, I can help.

But she was keeping it haughtily:

-No, you’re gonna eat half of it!

I laughed under my breath, although quite loudly.

The man, sitting next to me, said:

-They're arguing.

-No, they’re teasing - I replied.

-You know, I am a happy man - he said surprisingly.

I rarely hear anything like that from older people. Most grumble, headed by my family.

-I am happy to live alone.

My hearing became sharp, attention here and now.

I replied:

-It is absolutely possible, being happy by oneself - I told what I really believe - That the creation of couples is dictated by culture and tradition.

The man nodded, for a minute we were nodding to each other.

-I had a pathologically jealous wife. We didn’t go anywhere together. How could we go out, if I wasn’t allowed to talk with any women? Otherwise, later at home we’d have a big fight. I felt alive again when she died.

I took a look on the man, who wasn’t afraid of being frank about his feelings. He was talking calmly and to the point.

-She died twenty years ago, then I became happy. But my friends look at me like I am crazy: how can I feel well despite being lonely?

-And deep inside their soul, some of them also want that kind of freedom - I answered - only maybe they don’t know about it yet.

- Later my son died. And after him my daughter.

- I am sorry to hear that.

From time to time we glimpsed at each other. He wasn’t a sorrowful man, crying on himself. He went through all of this, left it behind, and he is alive again.

-But I have good contact with my Granddaughter. We speak every day, visit each other.

-It’s important to have a few people close to us.

-Every day, I have something to do. If someone lives alone, there’s always something that must be done: shopping, cooking, cleaning…

- If only not to lie in bed and staring at the TV - I replied, recalling a memory of my father, spread in bed; remote in hand with cat close to his belly.

-I admit, sometimes I have that kind of day.

-The best rest is taken in nature.

That’s all me. I miss so much the silence of forest.

-I will wait until its warmer, then its nice outside.

-Now it’s also pleasant…

On the subject about nature, also touching the topic of Puszcza Kaminoska, we finished the conversation.

I was close to my bus stop, getting ready to go.

- Thank you for the nice talking.

- Me too. Have a nice day.


I met the old man with passion for life, not afraid of death.


author: Mo Green (Monika Skarzyńska, www.pinkhat.live)

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