listen! I’ll tell you about a true story. it is somewhat macabre but it is as true as i am sitting here with you.
i was fifteen years old, coming home from boarding school every Friday evening to the family home. i had to walk down a long alley of old chestnut trees from the train station. a wintry dusk had settled down that evening, basking the trees and houses in a soft darkening hue. the light tread of my footsteps was the only sound around.
i saw the shadow first then the man standing against one of the trees.
my heartbeat speeded up and i stopped frozen on the spot. a light from a passing car flickered on his face and i recognized him.
we called him “coco nice eye” children can be very cruel. ironic it was because he had only one eye. the other one he lost during the war and was replaced by a glassy one that gave him a look of surprize on one side of his face. he was my father’s friend. they would talk for hours about the war and i didnt like them laughing about the numbers of enemies fallen under their fire. Mr coco nice eye had complained a couple of times to my father about my manners. i was unfriendly and rarely greeted him.
seeing him here in the twilight, one menacing eye glaring at me. i was not going to get intimidated. i nodded and sent him a loud “good evening mister”
to my amazement he didnt answer. well it was getting too dark for me to worry and i hurried pas him and his glaring eye. what a weirdo! goose bumps crept up my arms and i ran the last few metres home as fast as i could.
it was nice to see the family. we had dinner and we all settled around the fireplace. i felt safe and protected and the encounter with my father’s friend came back in my mind.
“dad? what is the matter with coco nice eye?i met him in the alley on my way home. i know he did complain to you because i never greet him. well to night i did and he never answered. he only stared. has he lost his hearing to?”
a silence fell over the room. five pairs of frightened eyes stared at me.
“what is it? did i say something wrong?”
as pale as a ghost my father answered in a strangled voice.
“you cant have seen him, he died three days ago!”