Silence and a Breeze
My parents were visiting friends. It was a cold summer day, you’d barely recognize it as summer. I must have been about 15 years old, their younger daughter was too. I didn’t know them, I didn’t know her. We didn’t even speak the same language, she spoke German and other than fumbling about with a few German words I knew nothing of the language. I was shy, she was more so and that day no words were exchanged. The whole situation was awkward at best, at best I felt uncomfortable. I certainly didn’t feel as though I belonged there.
I felt rejected by the house itself and sought refuge outside. The sky grey, it was still bright enough to be blinding in ways. The summer being what it was, it was warm enough to not need a jacket, but certainly not warmer. It was very windy though. As soon as I was outside I felt the air rushing by. If it wasn’t the sky that made me squint, it would have been the air. The house was one on a row following the crest of a small hill on the outskirts of a city. The garden was relatively large, it followed the gradient down the hill in the back, effectively split into two levels. The road on the other side of the house was slightly lower and below it followed more rows of houses. The driveway was long, the whole area breathed a sense of space.
Construction here largely consisted of concrete or thick stucco. The driveway just poured concrete, the pillars keeping the gate in place too. You could call it modern though at the time it just seemed dystopian. The set of a science fiction B-movie. It felt bare and raw, unfinished somehow, though I reckon it looks exactly the same now as it did back then. I remember walking up to the gate and feeling the air rush over the hill. The wind felt almost like a liquid, as though I should have swam through it. Peeking through the road passing by, the tarmac was relatively new yet somehow it felt as unfinished as the concrete did.
There was light sand everywhere, the kind of sand that was used in construction. You see it everywhere in unfinished buildings. This white sand was everywhere here. Remnants of when this street and the houses were built. For as much as everything seemed new, grass grew in this light sand, it must have been here for months already. The light sand was everywhere, throughout the house in all the nooks and crannies, the wind threw it around and deposited it everywhere it wasn’t already. With every step I took I heard the sand crackle under my shoes. And when a wind gust would pass, I’d see it pick up a handfull and lift it over the crest onto the driveway, under the poorly finished stucco on to the bare bricks.
Having walked around the house twice, I felt a lot of restlessness, I felt caged. Then I noticed the left gate and the little recess for the garbage containers, a roof to keep it out of the elements. When I climbed on that roof, I felt a sense of liberation come over me. I sat and watched part of the city below, the roads and houses it’s composed of. With the liberation came a sense of calm. I closed my eyes and felt the wind in my face. It felt invigorating. There was a subtle warmth to it too. It noticed it rush through me hair. I felt it touching my scalp and the same subtle warmth penetrated there too. It was therapeutic.
Closing my eyes I listed and heard the grass. I heard that it was tall, I heard that it was slightly dry. I knew it was both. When I opened my eyes again I saw the grass. Large patches scattered beside the road. The color of the grass reflected the soil it grew in, it was relatively light, the strands seemed at least partially dried out. During the spring there’s a light green that becomes progressively darker as the summer comes along. Trees everywhere were covered in this darker green. The grass though was light, the same green as white grapes. Somehow it seemed the most fitting green to match the light soil as the concrete construction everywhere. It felt as though it was incomplete in a way too.
I closed my eyes again and all I heard was the grass rustling and waving. For a moment, this was all that existed in my universe. The discomfort disappeared and in this moment that I could only describe as a glimpse of forever, I felt calm. The longer I listened, the further I felt my mind float away from my body, I felt less and less and then life itself was no more than a distant memory. I surrendered to the wind and let it carry me.
It felt that only a moment later and my mind would have said goodbye to my physical being permanently. She touched me. Suddenly she was beside me, sitting there in silence. She looked at me and smiled, an awkward smile, not awkward towards me, but awkward to the situation we were in. She clearly spent a lot of time here too. She clearly felt the same calm and she smiled, a sense of deep gratification with this moment. She lied down, her feet dangling off the roof and her eyes closed. For a moment I pondered, various thoughts had crossed my mind yet the only appropriate thing to do was simply to do the same. I laid down as well, she held my hand and both our minds wandered together. A slow ascent, carried by the wind like a pair of kites floating, only memories as our lifelines to our physical beings. I swear that given enough time, both our minds would have let go and soared through the sky endlessly, hand in hand.