The story begun with an old man walking, in a backstreet of a capital city.
He looked as an anachronism, a character from a book on a city that no longer is; pretty healthy for his age (seemingly about 80), wearing grey slacks, a white dress shirts and a beige coat, with a hat on. The only thing missing from most people's descriptions of him was his name. Everyone was calling him, simply, "Gramps". He was wandering different streets each day.
In this particular street, he encountered a girl who came up the hill with a couple of plastic bags filled with groceries. Though she insisted he should pass, he moved to the side, took his hat off and showed her to pass.
She was not used to such treatment, she expected a rude comment, almost surely referring to her as a "cow"; something more common for this day and age. She smiled, thanked Gramps for letting her pass him by and continued to wherever she was heading to. Then he stopped her. He showed her the gate of an old house, under a centarian black poplar and popped an unexpected question.
"Is there anybody living here?"
"I don't know...why?"
"She. She might be living here."
And even before the girl managed to ask who She was, Gramps knocked on the gate and once again took his hat off, having assumed a pose they used to greet each other in old times and smiled. He was listening, hoping he would hear footsteps. But nobody was coming.
"Oh well, perhaps I got the address wrong. Maybe she's living over there."
He moved to the building next door.
"But sir, this is not a private home...it's the rooms of such-and-such political party and the organisation committee for that bicycle race..."
He wasn't listening. He knocked again. Nobody was opening the door, it was Sunday. The girl was now interested in what was going on, hoping somebody would open the door to Gramps, so she could hear whom he's looking for and why.
Gramps moved on, the girl continued to stare at him. She expected him to knock on every single building entrance of the residental block on the corner. But his attention was taken by a small metal door on a dark red brick wall, so he knocked on it next. The girl could remember seeing that door open only once, while she was still attending elementary school. It was some messy storage room. And, of course. nobody was there.
"Is there anyone? Please?"
A ginger cat jumped from the crack between the dark red brick building and the first entrance of the residental block, hissed and jumped to the other end of the seemingly empty car park/yard. But whoever She was, she was not there.
The old man continued, onto the gutter. The girl wanted to remind him that nobody could live inside of it, that it was impossible. But once again, he took his hat off, smiled politely and put his ear on the gutter.
She couldn't hide her confusion anymore.
"Sir, I am sorry to still bother you, but..."
"Who is She? If you could describe Her, maybe I could figure out if I've seen Her before, find out where She's living. I know almost everyone in this street!"
There was no response. Gramps seemed not to be noticing the girl anymore. He knocked on a newly-planted chestnut tree, a lamp post and a transformer on the other side of the street. She gave up. While walking home, carrying her heavy groceries, she turned around one more time - Gramps was now knocking on the window of a parked car.
"She must have been dead for a long time now. Or maybe, many years ago, she left without saying goodbye. If so, his story is sad. But he is not losing his hope, he believes he still may find her someday..."
That night, the girl wrote into her diary, for the first time in years. She concluded that the true dreams had been dead for a long time; as nowadays everyone is obliged to push hard, curse, do the things solely because they're forbidden or because they've seen someone else do it. She added that everybody wants enlightment, yet they fail to see the big picture.
"This has got to have been the worst era since the dawn of time." the girl concluded.
She looked at the letters scattered on a sheet of lined paper and remembered the gleam in Gramps' eyes. Then she re-read what she wrote and ended up tearing the sheet to small pieces.
A couple of blocks away, Gramps was going to bed in his old-fashioned stripped PJs. Gazing at the moon from the soft embrace of his wooly pillow, he thought one of the clouds it was hiding by was resembling Her.
Original: Dedica koji kuca na svaka vrata