The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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The memories he was telling me were making him nostalgic. But it was another type of nostalgy - without any regrets of the past. That short speech with the old man had actually changed his worldview and he has changed in a better way.

On Christmas Eve, Robert was driving back to his old house where he grew up. It was the house he left 8 years ago as it was flooded. Even though he had no time to miss that old house, he caught himself on the thought that something special is drawing him back to this house. It was marvelous to drive by his old house of his childhood. Both bad and good feelings overwhelmed him. When he came, he noticed that a new family was living in that house - Robert saw the flicker of a television from through the glass on the front door.

Sitting on the old bench that he constructed with his father in front of the house, Robert noticed that a new family that leaves in the house has a little son. In the sandbox were scattered around a lot of toy cars, a remote control plane for kids, and a kite. He looked at the kite with a wide nostalgic smile on his face. He remembered himself being a child. He remembered how in fall warm days, he and his father were flying Robert's kite of a sky-blue color in front of the house. Then, Robert saw that his favorite garden nearby the house disappeared at all. It was the garden where the most memorable and important moments of his life has happened. At that moment he regretted that the house was no longer his. Old memories captured his mind.

At the moment when Robert was sitting fully immersed in his thoughts, somebody put a cold hand on his shoulder. When he turned his head, he saw an old man in the light of the full moon. The man sat near him on the bench and started to talk with the husky voice. He did not ask any questions or the reasons why Robert was sitting there. It seemed that the old man knew what is happening. The wrinkles and deep gaze on his face showed that the man was as old as the hills. Then he said: "Listen. The past the best experience and it teaches us a lot of things. Never feel foolish or ashamed of your memories. You cannot change any of the past things but, believe me, everything changes for better. Appreciate your memories, and go ahead. Merry Christmas!." After the last phrase, the old men left the Robert sitting alone, thinking about their talk. It was the last moment when Robert came to his old house. He realized that he actually cannot do anything with his past and the house does not belong to him at all.  There was only one variant left – to let it go.

Context.

I interviewed Robert in a local cozy cafe in a French style. He was sitting in front of me and his eyes were stared deeply at me. His clothing was of rich stuff, but slightly old-fashioned. He had clear blue eyes. He looked much younger than men of his age usually look like. The beardless cheeks barely needed a razor. He looked as though he might be about to speak till the evening. The memories he was telling me were making him nostalgic. But it was another type of nostalgy - without any regrets of the past. That short speech with the old man had actually changed his worldview and he has changed in a better way.

Robert and His Old House

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When Robert is 24 years old.
Brainerd, Minnesota

The memories he was telling me were making him nostalgic. But it was another type of nostalgy - without any regrets of the past. That short speech with the old man had actually changed his worldview and he has changed in a better way.

Tags: childhood
Decade: 1980s
Rating:
Recorded by XINJUN SHI on December 7, 2017
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