Almost as if persistence of vision could last a few decades, I keep seeing an old man, head between his callous hands, his elbows on the ancient marble table, his eyes closed.
And I hear myself saying “ Grandpa, what’s the matter? Is there something wrong ?...."
And he wouldn’t answer, his eyes would remain closed and his head would just move slightly, as in disbelief.
A clock he had bought in his youth was still noisily dissecting the seconds, in the silence of the house where he had been living for the past sixty years.
Dissolve to today.
I start experiencing on my own skin how an old person can often feel a true stranger in the present tense.
Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why old people tend to re-live past experiences so much.
The present becomes a painful and constant reiteration of your incapability to adapt, to comprehend, to accept, to enjoy.
The clock is a daily reminder about your lack of elasticity, of the burden to society you increasingly represent.
The inevitability of it all clicks in.
Audio: original recording of the clock in my grandparent's house. ©Giovanni Savino