“Yeah, I come from a simple place. From a place that smells of land and sweat and twice worn clothing. Smiles are fewer where I come from than they are here, but when they spread across a face, it’s a moment worth remembering. Not this half assed idea of a smile these people give you. With their eyes watching you, and at the same time watching their selves. As they move the muscles over the bones of their faces, pulling them up like the sail of a ship. Like it’s aiming to take them somewhere. Nah. I’m talking about a smile so pure, you felt like you just drank a big gulp of ice cold, fresh cut lemon lemonade after shoveling out a whole barn’s worth of manure. That kind of refreshing." He paused as he looked at something off in the distance. Something that wasn't there but inside the playbook of his mind. When he continued, his voice was just a bit softer. "What I wouldn’t give for Margie’s smile, right now. Worth gold, it was. Worth pure gold.”
“Why don’t you go back there, old man, if you miss it so much. Why did you ever leave,” the young man said to him. The young man hated it when the old man talked of this place he’d never been to. It pained him to think that there was a time, a better time, one that he could never get ahold of. One that he may never be able to duplicate in his own life. Regardless of the fact that he had more than double the amount of days, by any logic you could use, than the old man had left to live, he envied him greatly. But he wouldn’t show it, never. He would take that feeling to his grave if he had to.
A dark cloud passed over the old man’s face as the young man had expected it would. “You know I can’t go back. I’ve told you and told you. Quit asking me.”
And with that, the old man seemed to wither within. Seemed like a sea crab, the hermit kind, retreating into the outer layer of his shell. And then he was gone even as he sat there living. And there would be no reaching him for at least a day or two. That was just fine by the young man. He’d had more than enough of the old man’s vocal meanderings. He would be happy to just sit still in this world of silence for a while.