Meeting With My Father In The Orchard

By Homero Aridjis

Past noon. Past the cinema with the tall sorrowful walls on the point of coming down, I enter the orchard. Show over, all of them have gone: day laborers, dogs and doors. My father is standing in front of a fig tree. My mother has died. The children, grown old. He’s alone, small threads of air weave in and out of his tattered clothes. For fear of getting too close and startling him with my living presence, I want to go straight by, the strange one now with white hair whom he asks, “Who’s that there?” “Father, it’s me, your son.” “Does your mother know you’re back. Will you stay and eat?” “Father, for years now your wife has lain at rest by your side in the town graveyard.” Then, as if he has divined everything, he calls me by my childhood name and gives me a fig. So we met up, the living and the dead. Then, each went on his way.

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