While sitting in the train heading home in London, I remembered my last visit to my old home in the village. It has been a very long time since my last visit there, my father has died at my earlier years and my mother could not take care of me and my sister, so I had to live with my grandmother faraway from home, she said “it is better for you to stay with me since I can look after you.” I did not remember anything from there neither the roads nor the houses, I did not even recollect my shattered memories of childhood. At my youth I insisted on my grandmother that i wanted to visit my family in the village, I told her that I am a grown up and I can take care of myself. I have convinced her to let me travel there. I was very excited since I did not see my family for many years, they just sent me letters every month asking me about my study, life and everything. At the morning, I went to the train station and I took the first train which was heading a town near the village. It was January as I can remember, and it was raining all the way heavily, the rain was hitting the windows of the cabine preventing me to see the road well. It was as if everything blended with each other making a wintry image, everything interrupted each other, I remember the sound of the rain hitting the roof of the cabine. I was very confused since it is my first time I travel by the train.
I thought that I have lost the way, or I have taken the wrong train. As soon as we stopped in the station, I asked the captain about the village and he told me that it is not far from here, he said that it takes two hours walking, so I decided to walk, I thought it would be good for me to remember everything I have lost since my departure. The rain has stopped but it was rather cold, I walked toward a hill, I read the wooden road-signs on the roads but it did not help me very much, I did not know the direction of the village. Maybe after an hour it started raining again, I did not expect that at all and it started getting colder, I headed toward the forest, I did not want to spend the time there with a fever, I did not know where I was going, or which direction I should take, I went very deep through the forest until I smelt the burning firewood. I knew then that I could find someone who lives there, I started running toward the fire, I felt the smoke surrounding me, I saw a broken wooden sign tells that there is a gold mine nearby, I thought I will find the workers there and they would help me. I reached the side of the hill and I saw the mine, it was a large hole in the hill, it was very dark and everything was black, I could not even see the walls of that mine, it seemed to me that they would take out pieces of darkness instead of rocks, it looked like a huge open mouth which is ready to eat anything because of that ancient hanger, I saw also a railway leads inside that mine, as if it was an endless rails. I approached it and smelt the remains of the animals, it was very awful, when the winds enters the opening of the hole and hits its walls it created a sound just like the whistle and it was mixed with the voice of the bats, as if they were singing together. As I roamed around I saw an old shack which was made from wood and tin, maybe it was made before the first world war, I heard a footsteps behind me I turned and saw an old man aiming his rifle against me “who are you?” he said rudely “what are you doing here? It is not allowed for anybody to get here, get out.”
I was very confused and I looked at him and said,” wait I have lost my way and I thought I could find someone to help me, I just want to stay here for a while, untill the rain stops.”
He gave me a suspicious look, I did not feel that he trusted or believed me at all. He was an aged man, maybe in his sixties, he had a white hair also his beard was white, his appearance was as if he has not interacted with people for a long time, he lowered his rifle and said, “follow me boy, you will catch a cold if you stay under the rain, let me give you something hot to drink.” I followed him near the shack, there was a fire, I sat near it and felt the warmth, he sat on a stone and he put the teapot on the fire. He looked at me again, “how did you get here?” He asked.
” I was going to the village, but it started raining and I got lost in the forest,” I said.
“I know that village, but no one ever lost his way before,” he said.
“Well, I do not live here, “I said “I left the village thirteen years ago, and this is my first visit here.” He gave me some hot tea and we sat drinking, we did not talk for a while. “What is your name?” I asked. He looked at me as if I asked him something weird, I thought that he is nameless, or it is not necessary for him to have a name, but after that pause he said, “my name is Oliver.” As he moved to put some firewood in the fire, I saw a golden medal around is neck and a small sack near his seat. Then I thanked him for the tea but he did not say anything as if he did not understand me. I said “it is a nice medal, how did you get it?” He looked quickly at me as if he was awakened now, then after a slight pause he stood up and pointed to the railway and said, “long time ago I have won a competition, I pulled two tons of rocks in the wagon, no one ever could pull that weight, I was the strongest man here, they called me Oliver the strong.”
“So, do you still guard the gold mine here? Why do not you leave here and go back to your home?” I asked, but he did not answer, he just turned his eyes away from me as if to say no. I thought that I have bothered him with my question or I touched upon a forgotten memory in his life, but he looked at me again “I can not,” he said with a short pause “I have received a deadly injury in the war, and now I am disabled, I could not get back to work, I left home when I was young and energetic, and I am not coming back as an old disabled man, it is better for me to stay here.” And so he continued telling me about his glorious past when no one could beat him in work, he showed me some small pieces of gold, he also gave me a small stone, I saw the brighting small pieces of gold in it, as if I had the blend of darkness and gold together, I approached it near the fire and saw it shining, as if it came back to life again after a long time of death. Then he told me where the village is and showed me the way after the rain had stopped. I thanked him for his hospitality and turned to go on my way, but before my first step he said, “so, what is your name boy?” I turned to him and said, “my name is George.”
“Be careful George of the correct direction and do not walk on the muddy roads,” he said. “I will, thank you,” I said. And these were the last words I said then, I turned and started walking on the road, I turned my eyes again to take the last image of the whole scene and I saw him staring at the fire, with a meditative eyes as if he was calling something from the past, but he did not make any motion or any sound.