We met in the parking lot...
THE POLICEMAN AND THE PILLOW
"We did. No one is answering."
"He's deaf." yelled an older man from the same yard. "I'll go in and let him know he has visitors."
We were once again in the lobby with sickly cat. The man went in. Then came out slightly pale but puttin' on a facade: "I've looked for him in every room. Even in the bathroom! The old codger must have left to chat with the other elders, up by the pub, and forgot to lock his doors. I'll take you there. I saw him just last night." We got in his car, I sat next to old boiled corn on the cob that turned brown. No one was voicing what we all feared. He stopped by the town hall where the village's police man was standing outside. They of course knew each other. It's a small village. The Officer haven't seen the old man either. We pressed on at the pub. The barkeep and the patrons haven't seen the man in days. We turn around to go back. Now the villager that was helping us wants to go to the woman who cares for the elderly man as well. We pass by the cop again. We report he's not anywhere around or at the pub.
We reach our destination - a yellow house: "Hey, where's the old codger?" yells our driver without getting out of the car. A slightly irritated but also kinda amused woman appeared at the gate "In his bed, where d'ya think he is?" - "I went in, he's not inside. We looked at the pub, he ain't there either." - "Maybe he's at the bathroom." - "I even looked in the bathtub!" Exclaims our now visibly worried guide. "I'll be right over, let me get my cigarettes." She says and sends us away to the house.
At this point, in front of the museum there's us, the young mother, thee crone, the man who drove us, the policeman is walking towards it and the carer lady finally arrives. She goes in. We follow. After us the older guy and the Officer. She opens the door to his rooms and goes in. "I told her, he's not there." The man says. "God I hope I don't have to spend the night in the woods looking for the old man." The Officer mutters.
"You have visitors." We hear her voice from inside "Get up. Easy now." She comes out. Turns out he was sleeping, so well bundled up in his bed, hidden between pillows and blankets, that our friend had not noticed him. Everyone leaves. We wait for him to get ready and come out.
Once inside he takes a moment to catch his breath then he starts his slow and well rehearsed tour. The museum is filled with pictures of past visitors as well. he lights up every time he remembers one of them and tell us stories about them.
The stones are beautiful, and there are a lot displayed for such a small space. But this is more than just a mineralogy museum. He loves the stones, collected them all his life. He brought them in and regaled the visitors with his tales, savouring their fascination, living for it. His wife would be the one looking after the displays, making sure that her man's passion is presented in such a way that makes it justice. She is no more...
The display cases are dirty, the air is stuffy and the dust seems to want to cover the stones again, bring them back to the bowels of the earth. But the stones gleam on! and his passion radiates and his eyes light up. His mind is full of information about these minerals, his past full of smiles and wonder from the visitors he's had...yet he forgot he had given us a tour as soon as it was over and promptly stared the tour again. The same...but different, with different memories...another cycle, just like the Earth.
STONES, WATER AND TIME
Or maybe I caught whatever that cat was suffering from.