Click on Google Earth and pick a random location. Then take a look at the street view and create a story. This is what happened here. Poprad. Slovakia. The home of brown boxes…
Today was like any other day. The weather was still there and so were the boxes. So many boxes. And still room for more. The trees had changed, but only a little. They were still leafless, but at least they were trying to do something about it.
Stepanek arrived at a quarter past two. On the dot. As he always did. The boxes he brought were varied and occasionally beautiful. Always brown, often with rips or creases, the boxes were sometimes open, sometimes sealed.
He would bring them and I would thank him, and bless his family and sometimes we would talk about politics, or roads, or the small figurines we collected as children. From time to time, if we felt inclined, we would use one of the boxes as a table, and play chess.
Only, today was different. The weather was the same, but instead of a brown box, Stepanek lumbered into the garage with a large, canvas sack on his back. It was white and frayed in places, but I thanked him all the same.
He sat all afternoon on one of my best boxes he had brought me before everything had changed. He talked at some length about the travelling circus he had gone to see when he was a boy.
I listened as well as I could.
And, as I listened, I thought about the large, white sack Stepanek had brought me.
Once he had finished, he shook my hand, said his goodbyes, and left. I watched as Stepanek disappeared amongst the houses and the streets and the greyness. I could just make out his slow, lumbering movement in the shadows. But, after a while, he seemed to merge with the rest.
I was alone with all my boxes and the large, white sack.
I sat with them until darkness came.
Then I stepped into the weather, took one last look behind, closed the garage door, and followed Stepanek into the grey.