John’s thoughts wander to the people he now leaves behind, the family he won’t experience that much anymore because of his departure from the homeland.
Where it is familiar, it is easy to live together. Even if you can not get along with someone, you’ve got to know each other well enough to show a little respect. By nature John is somewhat in himself, and he had not been so involved with the social life at home. His world had always been wider compared to most in his surroundings. Therefore his perspective and thinking were different, more tolerant, and in a way also a bit indifferent. He made profound decisions, and exercised influence that touched the lives of other people. That’s why he has no problems leaving everything behind, looking for new challenges.

Unlike John, Edith was more like a curious butterfly who doesn’t know exactly what the road to “here and now” looked like, nor does she have an idea where she’ll be tomorrow. With a spontaneous open-mindedness she had joined John’s side, and had stayed since then. He loves Edith’s sparkling energy, which gives him the impetus to successfully leave his comfort zone. Also for her, moving out is not a sad leaving behind trusted persons, but the opening to a new and exciting phase in their lives.

There is only one man to whom they think back with melancholy and admiration.

Joseph is by far the oldest of their circle of friends.
Not a very special person who had done something extraordinary, but just a friendly and honest man who is always ready for everyone. The young women and children affectionately call him “lolo“, and without exception the men approach him with reverence and esteem. Old age-related woes make him less mobile and more vulnerable to minor accidents. The bones and joints are rheumatic, and the muscles lost their strength, but his mind is still bright and his vitality untamed. He is quieter now than in the past, but in a busy community that is only fine. John cherishes the memories of being together, with conversations about life, past and present. Sometimes they were engaged in visual art and other times they just sat together in silence with thoughts about the events of the days before. Joseph loved a relaxed atmosphere, but as a figurehead of four generations he also enjoyed the hustle and bustle of grandchildren and great-grandchildren around him.

Meanwhile of his own generation not many people are left. Years ago also his wife had died, and Joseph took care of her as well as possible until the very last moment. John had witnessed the special farewell moment between them, both still clear in spirit, knowing that the change would soon come. How they thanked each other for the time together, for the good life they had given each other. The appreciation they showed for each other when they memorized the offspring. And the promise for the future, no matter what that would bring. That moment had changed John into another man. It had made clear to him that in the end only one thing counts: how can you complete your life with someone dear to you. Seen in that light, the whole human buzz is but a dust cloud of a passing nature. Everything that we consider important is like waves on an imperturbable lake: unstable and temporary. John knew since then that Edith is his twin soul, the one that makes him complete.

Joseph’s roots were in a different time and a different continent. The Great War brought him here, where he secretly helped bringing hungry people the food that the farmers had kept away from the warring armies. After this war there was a shortage of everything, and in an outside area he arranged the distribution of goods among the people. There he had to resist the charming bribery of the local traders who wanted to take maximum advantage of the prevailing scarcity. Armed with a common sense, a good dose of human knowledge and an unfailing sense of righteous behavior, Joseph was respected in all ranks by the way he managed to unite all interests. Joseph talked seldom and very restrained about it, and only when asked. Ever since he just led a normal, average life. Yet everyone who came on his path was touched by his kindness and tranquility. When John told him about his intention to travel away with Edith, Joseph simply said: “It is good to regularly make up the balance of your life. Every day is a new opportunity, with choices for your future. Just make sure you don’t regret any choice later on.

Now that John thinks back to his friend Joseph, he realizes how important older people really are. One wants to grow old because life gets more and more depth. Your understanding of things, your insights and acceptance grow. Because you distance yourself from the daily activities in later life you get a different and richer perspective. Certain tires grow stronger, others loosen. At the same time “to let go” gets a very different meaning, for you and for your environment. Forced by physical and mental limitations that inevitably increase with the years, you become more selective. That is why you really don’t want to be old: you can no longer really participate in the “normal” life around you. Times change, everything goes faster (apart from the fact that you slow down yourself), ideas and morality shift. The only thing you still can give is your presence and gratitude. And the example function for the younger generation.

Edith notices that John’s thoughts are no longer at all with the journey. There is indeed plenty of time to think back, and to sort and filter your memories. Joseph also slips through her mind. He was the first one to fully accepted her, despite her sometimes whimsical spontaneous behavior. He was genuinely interested, and allowed her to see the humor of many things through his silent smile in her enthusiastic speech. He was the one who aroused a deeply caring feeling to her, which she had not expected in herself. When they finally left, he had embraced her, whispering in her ear: “Take good care of yourself, you are worth it! And also pay a bit of attention to John! ” The notion that Joseph is walking with them on this long journey, reassures Edith because his support will help them through all possible problems.

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