Bygone days, inch by inch

Lord bless this house,” written in Arabic, hanging above the door. George is waiting for us, with a kind smile on his face, all dressed up and ready for the interview, greeting us as his friends, not agents, or any of that sort.
In search of a place to set up the chairs and prep the camera, he points to the living room corner, facing the backyard: his castle, his rules.
The silky light is pouring down from the window; no light is needed when it’s sunny in South San Francisco; he knows this better than anyone.
Forty-five years of living under this roof, it seems that he needs a second to wipe up the dust of time from those past memories. But as he gazes upon somewhere between the kitchen entrance and the dinner table, it emerges as a vague, out of focus image, comes into a crisp and sharp picture.
Much alive that he seems to hear her mother’s voice asking his help to set the dinner table, something one would like to act like he has not heard it anticipating to pass the job to the older sister.

His colleagues at the post office are like his second family. George learned English at adult school, while he knew nothing of the language when he set foot on the US soil from Lebanon. Now his brightest memories are communicating with others and learning more people.

He is moving to one of the gateways to the Central Valley, Stockton, California, to spend his retirement in a more spacious place, closer to his family and cousins.

Before we leave the house and heading to Longford Drive, he mentions his one last thing, a gift, wrapped in words, or maybe provisions for our journey; wherever you go, try to make it like home, no matter where no matter when.

Hamidreza Rafatnejad

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