vrijdag 28 november 2014

A Cup of Tea

 Things had changed all of a sudden. I was used to travelling all the way to the north, to the city where Grandma lived, but now there was another goal. And it was in the same city.

I was twelve years old and suddenly I had a Grandfather. I visited him once with my father, but this time I wanted to do this on my own.

The train journey was always interesting, even when it took such a long time. In these two and a half hours there was always a lot to see on the train and through the windows. We lived in the woods and the journey took me through meadows and passing lots of stations. The people in this part of the country even spoke in a different manner.

Grandma lived in the middle of the city and Grandpa lived halfway the walk I had to take. So I had decided that this time my day would be divided between both of them. I already knew that she was not going to be happy about this and would complain the first hour after my entrance of her house. But the old man was very intriguing and I didn’t really understand why I never met him in earlier years. Maybe he would tell me more, my parents didn’t give anything away about it.

I did know about his two marriages: my fathers mother gave birth to five children and after she died he remarried and this wife gave him twelve more. And I didn’t know any of these twelve.

The street where he lived was very easy to find again and he hardly seemed surprised I was there when I rang his doorbell. We had a chat about trains while drinking coffee and he offered to show me the neighbourhood. Half of the living room was filled with clocks. Some were open, others had their contents completely spread out next to them and a few were running. Grandpa explained that this was one of his hobbies. I was interested in his large house too but didn’t dare to appear to be curious.

So we went outside and he showed me two old cars I had noticed before. They were his; he didn’t have a drivers license, they both were not usable, but he was busy making one car out of them.

It was amazing! He did all these things and he was in seventies. I always thought that people of that age were dead or close to that. I told him I admired his ability to work on these cars. He explained he got help from workers from the garage next door. He waved at them and they greeted back.

On the other side of the street was a warehouse full of cheese. We walked in and we were greeted again by workers. He showed me around like he was one of their colleagues. On every floor the cheese was of a different age. And on every floor I was offered a bit of cheese. The oldest cheese was tasting really great.

When we got out of the building we saw a lady walking by. She must have been in her late sixties but her way of walking made her look a lot younger.

She asked my grandfather if he liked to have a cup of tea with her in an hour. He agreed and she went in her house. Grandpa said that he drank tea regularly with her, smiled and gave me a wink.

I didn’t understand why he winked, maybe this was tea of a special brand? I didn’t want to look ignorant so I nodded understandingly. We went in his house again and he gave me a sandwich and a glass of milk. After I finished he told me I’d better go to Grandma now, she probably was already a bit worried.

When I walked out of the street I had a last look. I saw him coming out of his house and walking up to the house of the old lady.

I looked at my watch and decided to walk as fast as I could. Grandpa was right: Grandma would be angry with me arriving this late.


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