A permanent memory

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What I spent my days doing when I was a kid, was exploring the territories around the village I lived in. We were located in probably one of the most remote areas of the country, and so the landscape beyond our houses was filled with all kinds of nature. This village was a pretty strong farm community, and sat just below the valley of a mountain, facing south.

I didn’t have many people, or things to spend time with at my house. I was always seen as one of the weirder kids in town because of this, which is why I have never built a stable relationship with people. I wasn’t exactly the type of person you would talk to. So since I didn’t have anything better to do with my life, when I got some time off during the day, I would walk to specific areas in the wildlife, and run around and play pretend.

Since I didn’t have many possessions, there wasn’t much to take with me to my walks except my imagination. Once I’ve found one of my playpens, I would do the basic stuff such as finding the biggest rock around, and imagining that I’m the king of it, and other rocks are foreign rulers who wish to challenge my power, things like that.

But the problem with me is that I get bored very quickly, and my imagination can run short, fast. So to combat this, I would explore new areas in the region, and see what new things I could do. It’s like I was conquering the landscape one by one with my imagination, until I was the emperor of it all.

However another one of my things is that I don’t handle well getting lost. I was never reluctant to explore, because my sense of direction was pretty poor, and still is. But boredom can be quite a powerful thing when it gets to you (or maybe it’s curiosity, either one of the two).

I always tried my best to play as many things as possible in my safezones, the areas I was well familiar with. Yet there were those days where I found myself walking completely off course to where I would usually go to, just to see what would happen, and what I could learn next.

To make things clear, this is a recollection of a memory that happened to me when I was about 10, so where talking about pretty young stuff here. Understand that even I take it at a grain of salt sometimes, and there’s probably a logical explanation behind it. But even after all these years of living, and witnessing all kinds of stuff, whenever someone asks me if I ever had an apparition encounter, that day is all I can remember. It was always more that just a memory to me.

This is what I recall. I was walking down a white road (they literally call it The White Street in the village), that was beating down with the sun. It was probably during a summer season. From what I know, the road was created during the time of the Romans (when all roads lead to Rome), so pretty outstanding stuff. Why I bother to say the specifics of this road, is because once you find yourself walking on it, you’ll also find yourself going down a long road that goes quite the places. It splits up quite frequently, so I imagine a lot of the original road was probably lost to time due to reconstruction.

This road is probably a monument in its own right in the village, as it connects through a lot of important places in the area. The main thing is unlike a regular street road, or a simple forest path this road can lead you to more than just familiar landmarks. The best way to describe how it looked like is that it was made out of pure white gravel that looked like rocky sand, smoothed out by many years of exposure (that also gave off quite the crunchy sound), and that the road was elevated from the rest of the terrain. Most people walked down this road during their daily activities, but like I said the road can diverge from its linear path quite frequently.

On one of those paths, is where I’ve found myself that day. The first thing that comes to mind is that I’ve found myself walking uphill. Not a steep hill, but bent enough, so that you needed to reach the top to see a clear view of the other side.

I guess I should say first that abandoned buildings weren’t that uncommon in our area. These buildings weren’t houses in your traditional sense, such as places people lived in. I’m assuming that most of them were large makeshift barns, or sheds where people stored their tools inside of. A lot of the farmers owned numerous grass fields beyond the village, where they would graze their livestock in. I’m assuming these buildings must have served as a way to have items at the disposal quickly.

Why I used the word, ”abandoned” despite the fact that they weren’t in the village, and were very likely used by the owners is because of their appearances. They were usually two stories high, were made entirely out of wood, and stood on a open field not far from a road. They could sometimes be found in groups with a good distance between each of them, and had all kinds of compartments hanging on their side walls. From their appearance, what was clear was that the owners never bothered to take care of them properly, and that they certainly weren’t build in the past few decades.

I always made sure to keep my distance from such areas, so to not let my curiosity overtake me. I’ve learned my fair lesson in trespassing, when I tried once in the past to access a complex that looked abandoned, only for a resident to walk by, and caught me red handed. It’s a good thing I was still that young, or else I wouldn’t have gotten off that easily. People in this farm community were pretty uptight with one another, and treated each other as comrades, even though they couldn’t tell you more than one sentence about each other.

You weren’t exactly seeing such sights on a daily basis. Yet despite their lack of appearance, those buildings were there that day. There were more than just one too, and were located on both sides of the road. There weren’t close either, and you probably would have to take a good 10 minute walk off the road to reach them.

I remember the scenery being a large green field, spread across a terrain filled with wide hills that the road went reluctantly across. There were a few trees spread across, but all of them were leafless, and thin white barks that huddled together in odd patches of areas. I know the description of the area doesn’t sound odd, but when I reached the top of that hill, it felt like I wasn’t in the same environment anymore.
Yet despite all of this, I know I would have never remembered that day unless I saw what I did next.

There was someone walking towards me.

I could tell they were an elderly woman in their late forties. Their hair was curly, with a dirty red tone, and they carried something like a purse under their right bicep. They wore a black coat, that covered their legs like a trench coat would. Their hands were deeply stuck inside of its pockets. It wasn’t a leathery, or rigged type of a jacket. Instead it seemed to have style to it, and was much more smooth in appearance.

The reason why I was able to tell such detail of what they wore, was because of their walking distance from me. They were barely moments away from me. I was expecting them to look up at me due to the directions we were walking in, just like I was at them.

Instead, their face remained looking down to their right. They were looking at the floor, smiling. It was the type of smile you make when you’re feeling lonely, and you remember a small moment in your life that made you once laugh. At least that is the face I would make in those instances. Their face didn’t change as they kept on walking.

I remember not liking that smile. I thought that the person might have problems, due to their lack of reaction to the situation. It felt like they were the type of person you would take a step aside to let them walk by, so not to get in their way.

Most people would have just walked by them, but my response was to take the situation to an extreme. I was confused on why they weren’t physically responding to my presence, so I decided to walk back a bit, and to the left side ditch of the road. My reason why was because I wanted to see their face better, and figure out what their deal was.

I was going to pretend that I was relaxing on that spot of grass, and they just happened to walk by. I always do odd things like this in public, when I want to assess the situation better. I’ll pretend like I didn’t make the previous few actions, and that the person who I want to analyze has just intruded on my turf, and so they should go mind their own business.

So I leaned back and waited, looking ahead, awaiting for their inevitable approach. I was motionless, and my head remained still looking dead on. A line of trees that faced by back gave me a nice shade, while I waited for them to appear. It took me a few seconds to realize however that something was wrong. They were too close to have still been walking.

I began to feel like they saw me run back, and were waiting for me to make a move. It was an odd thing to think, but that is what my memory tells me I thought of. Whatever it was, they weren’t there when they should have been, and so I decided to go back and check. I didn’t have the same view of the terrain where I decided to take a break, unless I went back to the area where I spotted them first.

So I went there. And they were gone.

Now this wasn’t a situation of them taking a different route, or walking off the path. The whole area was a giant field, and all of this happened in under minutes. The grass wasn’t high, and you couldn’t just hide behind any trees. They were just not there anymore. They really did just up and vanished.

Now I understand that people might have been freaking out if they were to witness something like this. But for me, the fear factor of the situation only came to me once I matured, and thought about what had actually happened that fateful day. Back then, in that moment, I thought it was all my fault. I remember thinking in that moment about the comic TinTin, and how they were talking about mirages, and what they do. So that’s the best thing I could evaluate in that moment.

In a way I was freaked out, but it wasn’t because I was scared. I was just confused about it all, and wanted to go home to tell my Mami about the whole situation. That is what my motivation was to turn around, and walk back home.

I have no idea how I found myself back to my home again. The whole situation felt like I didn’t experience it in the first place. I never did tell anyone else about what happened that day. Maybe because I’m impressed by all the experiences other people have lived through. Or maybe because it’s all just baloney, and my kid mind shouldn’t be trusted.

I really do hope it’s something as simple as that. Because for some reason, my mind refuses to let that memory go, no matter how long I walk on this earth

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