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lost, alone, and far from home

I was lost and alone in some vague European country. I knew no one. No one knew me. I spent the last hours of daylight exploring trails of a huge public park. The weather was bi-polar. Sometimes the sun would pour, other times the rain would shine.

There were people in the distance, always moving away.

The grass was intensely green. The trees smelled of rain and admitted cathedrals of intermittant sunlight. It made me sad, the way only purely beautiful things make me sad.

I left the park and crossed the road. There were no cars on the road--and only a few people in the distance, moving further away. I entered an antiques store. They had yet to turn on the lights in the store. All the shadows were long and interconnected. I saw no one else in the store except an old woman thumbing through the pages of a thick binder behind the counter. I moved through the store filled with old lamps and chairs, racks of vintage clothing, ragged dolls and gilded mirrors, crates full of musty books and scratched LP's and posters advertising products that no longer existed.

And I froze and stared for a long time at an oil painting depicting my father. I knew it was my father, because it looked just like a familiar photograph of him taken when he was young, healthy, and confident and that hung for many years in the hallways of my childhood. I had never heard of it being replicated in a painting and had no idea how his image could end up on this side of the Atlantic. I stared at it for many long moments and felt something turning in my chest. I dried my eyes with my fingers. I took the painting up to the counter. The old woman said something I could not understand. I put my money on the counter and let her subtract an amount she found acceptable for the painting. I carried the painting under my arm and left the store.

There was still some light left in the sky--and a little bit of rain left in the trees. I saw someone in the distance, moving further away. I went back into the park and sat on a bench. I could not bring myself to look again at the painting of my father, so I just held it close as the last rays of light slanted through the dripping trees.

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