Going back

The man stopped the car and got out. The chirping of the birds was the only noise that could be heard, definitely a very nice contrast compared to the hundreds of engines his ears noticed every day. The air was different too. Fresh. So much better.

He knew the place very well. True, he hadn’t been there for fifteen years or so, but he had spent countless days on those hills as a child and a teenager. Those days were noisier too, as he used to come with his family for picnics that were very satisfying from his stomach’s point of view. He even remembered the two trees that silently agreed every time to define the line which the ball had to cross when he played football with his brother and his cousins.

The chirping of the birds suddenly wasn’t enough. He could even hear the muffled sound of his footsteps on the grass while he paced around the place, checking everything was pretty much intact, except from the water stream that made its way through the field like a large transparent snake, which had somewhat shrunk. He knew the water was icy cold and a little bath there wasn’t a priority anyway.

The man kept walking until he reached the abandoned stone house and rested his arms on one of the low walls. He had spent a lot of time inside that half crumbled bunch of stones. First as a child, pretending it was a fortress his parents couldn’t penétrate, then a few times with friends when he was eighteen, eating junk and drinking beer until alcohol made them warm enough to sleep peacefully. He suddenly smiled when he remembered how they would always clean everything up the morning after, feeling fondly proud of his past self. Oh, and there had been that night with an ex when he was almost twenty. She spent the whole time complaining about how cold it was. Going out with her was never a good idea, but she was really attractive and, as many teenagers, he had this time when his male reproductive organs kidnapped his brain.

He sighed and looked around. It was actually getting a bit cold and he shivered. He was alone and there was no need to pretend he was the manliest man, after all. He was on his own most of the time these days. Not that he cared anyway, he had just grown apart from most people. Still, being there alone was making him very uneasy. He looked around one last time. The trees, the grass, everything was there. Nothing was different and yet everything was different. So many memories and nobody to share them with; he could almost feel a bittersweet taste in his mouth. He walked towards the car, started the engine and left, never to come back again.

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