The glass was old; milky in the way they made them back then. Arlen could see through the window, but it was cloudy and refracted, making the passersby into a moving collage.
He knew there would be a lot to go through. His Zayde was a special kind of pack rat- the printed word in all its forms. Books, magazines, but most wonderfully, diaries going back seventy years. Every week of his life chronicled in uneven prose, fanciful poems, and even odd little cartoons etched in black ink.
Sitting on the old hardwoods, surrounded by the worn notebooks, it was a chance to learn about a world so different from his own. Arlen knew a bit about his Zayde’s background, but he never imagined that he’d endured so much heartache and strife or that he’d kept it locked away in these diaries. It seemed invasive reading them, though he felt on some level compelled to now that he was gone. The landscape of Zayde’s memory laid out by his hands seemed to justifiably be a part of him now- a legacy he respected more with each page.
He read late into the night, proceeding in chronological order through the books, and was transported into his Zayde’s mind. He learned about his secret hopes and the grudges he held onto for far too long. His later years were filled with anguish and battles with regret and the limitations of his infirmities. Arlen realized his grandfather was a man like himself- someone who just wanted to experience a little happiness and not let life push him down in a hole.
© 2021 Jeff E. Brown. All rights reserved.
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