Today I took a stroll down a route I hadn't taken since mid 2002, some five years ago. Those who know the place (Oh, so many of you...), come, take my tour.
Our trip goes under the scorching early afternoon sun, but the path of my memories runs through chilly bleak dark mornings.
Early morning, soles meet concrete flooring outside. It's chilly. It's a bleak morning. The sun isn't so high yet. Onwards...
Along the concrete we go, and out of the familiar hiding of the tall building blocks and out into the sloping street. A little climb to wake up. Good for your legs. A little work out. Up to the corner and across the street, and up some more to the parking lot in front of the old Hospital, now darkened and abandones, a shadowy repository of unwanted beds and stretchers, with those cold stony archways and religious statues high atop the roof. On clear winter mornings, about January or February, often the low sun would shine brightly on aluminium window frames just beyond the hill, a little spark in the glummy morning. Across the tarmac and down the small sloped street between the old diner and the tiny mall that never really lived up to its expectations, and out into the rather broad and busy street. The first real whif of activity. Time to pick up our pace.
Again, across the street and up to the corner. Time there was when just nearby the old, perhaps the oldest supermarket in town overlooked that intersection, but not anymore. The old landmark-ish supermarket has been remodeled so far it's no longer where it once was anymore, and a mere shadow of itself, fond memories along with it. Then around the corner and down to another intersection. Here the traffic lights, quite haywire in nature, make for a prickly spot for drivers, and it's been so since 2001, but pedestrians can usually go by just fine. I remember when the road lanes weren't quite so wide. I remember they becoming this wide. In the end, it doesn't really matter.
Just a few more steps along the bushy fence around the park and across the street to our destination, good old High School. The sight brings back memories. The two wings, which, on the fascist days, served boys and girls separately, show only two thirds of the whole building, for, you see, the terrain slopes towards the back, so the ground floor would look like a basement from the front, but easily accessible from the back. But we get ahead of ourselves.
Alves Martins was a most revered bishop from Viseu.
Notice the outer wall, the fence and the gate, how the wall curves inwards around the gate. Just right of the gates, by the fire hydrant, that's where the mates and I would meet before class, before we'd break up into cliques and such. There we'd just talk. We'd always have something to talk about, for we knew, should we run out of talk, we'd have to go inside for class. We didn't dread class, at least I didn't, but never were we in any hurry. So we talked. About classes, and GPAs, and "what did you get for number three of math homework", and the likes. And then, by first bell, we'd go inside.
You know, those chilly dark bleak morings... I miss them.
Pax vobiscum atque vale
ArabianShark cherishes dearly the memoirs of three years in High School. Would that those days would ever come back some time.