Coming home

photo-Kirche

It is cold and quiet He doesn’t mind. He is content just to sit there. Nobody is disturbing his thoughts. He is not a believer. Religion and church has never had a meaning for him. But he likes the place. Empty, cold, sad and lonely, just like him. An old house, abandoned, forgotten and not needed anymore.

His children are gone. His wife left many years ago. He didn’t mind. He had his job, his buddies at the bar, his beer and his Bourbon, TV, his car, every first Sunday dinner with his sister. Once a week a quick trip to that apartment where he could fulfill his other needs. It felt enough. He had been content. He didn’t need anyone.

Then, just five years ago he became a pensioner. It felt good in the beginning. Now and then he visited the other guys at the warehouse, where he had worked all his life, but after a while he felt he was standing in their way. They were too busy to talk.

He had a small house and started tending the garden. Went fishing with the neighbor every now and again, fixing things in the house. It felt great not getting up early. In winter he started watching TV at midday, snoozing on the couch. The evenings got longer and sleep was harder to find. He thought about getting a dog. Instead he started writing long emails to his children, getting short ones in return. Found out that he had a grandson, already three years old. He looked at his photo on Facebook and didn’t feel anything.

After a while there were fewer emails and eventually they stopped. He didn’t mind much.

Then, one morning he woke up and realized that he couldn’t remember when he had last talked to another person. He hadn’t left the house for days. He put on his good leather jacket and went on the bus. Got off after 30 minutes, not knowing where he was. Walked a bit, passed that old church and noticed the doors were ajar. He went in.

Now he has been sitting on that hard bench for hours. Alone, but he doesn’t mind. It is peaceful here. Somehow he feels welcome and less alone. Maybe he will come back.

Writing101 This was written  for day 4 of   Blogging University Writing101

Regrets?

Writing101

Do you know Edith Piaf? I have always been fascinated by the story of her life. Growing up in poverty, having nothing but that fabulous voice an a lot of courage, being self – destructive and always seeking love, awfully sick in the end and still singing “ Non, rien de rien, non, je ne regrette rien”:

That song became my very own hymn. Going through a difficult phase in my life it gave me the determination to go on. No, I had no regrets and yes, I would carry on and things would be better again. No need to wallow in the past.

I still love that song. While I am writing this it is running in the background.

“I did it my way”, is another favorite of mine. The idea of being able to say at the end “I lived my life to the fullest, doing things the way I felt was right, making mistakes and not always pleasing everybody, but still, I lived my life and I do not regret one moment of it” is a life truly lived, at least in my opinion. It is how I would have liked to live. But I never had the courage to do it, or when I did I did it worrying about the consequences.

I was a sensible young woman. Doing nothing, or at least not much, others wouldn’t approve of. I lacked confidence, too. Thought, whatever I had to offer the world wasn’t that special, so I hid it away. It was easier that way. Success seemed even scarier than being mediocre.  So, instead of living life to its fullest, I choose the safest road. Chose a sensible course of studies, got married, had a bit of a career, a mortgage and all the usual stuff tying you down. I have always been a responsible person. I still am. But I would have liked to become a journalist.

Therefore, when listening to Frank Sinatra I feel a bit sad. Regret the opportunities I left out, the moments I shied away from doing something that seemed unreasonable. But then, isn’t this just my way? I am what I am and I was not made to stand out of the crowd.

Life, as it is, is comfortable, mostly predictable, with a certain kind of economic and emotional safety. I feel content. My life is no rollercoaster but a friendly merry-go-round.

But then, when I listen to Edith Piaf I feel longing and hope.

There is no need for regrets. I am what I am and tomorrow I will have new choices to make. And if I feel for it I can choose to be daring or silly, I can choose pleasure over duty and grab the opportunities to try out something new. Who is there to stop me but myself?