This empty storefront was once enroute to school. I would visit it mainly on my way home. It was full of candy, old freezers from the 60's, an old man, and his wife.
It was a neighbourhood store that mostly the kids would visit. I remember the owners were Polish, they didn't speak much English. She was spritely and he moved slowly, wore suspenders, brown pants, and a button down short sleeve shirt daily. He had a nose that rose to every occasion. I remember being fascinated by its size and crater shaped holes. He never really spoke, neither did we. He would just reach out his hand and we would place the change right in the center of his heavy palm.
Once she died, I remember even as a child feeling his loneliness and anger. The others would make fun of him. I don't remember if I ever joined in, if I did I have obviously erased it from memory. I don't recall if he ever had children, I hope that he did, that he too had someone who cared for him into his later years. Many years later I happened to walk by and notice that he was no longer sitting on his stool by the westerly window, all that remained were a few posters still taped to the walls and the window decals.
And took this photo.
In that instant my childhood came rushing back to me in the colour and taste of candy, pennies, nickels, and dimes, in the mouthful of gum that I new I shouldn't be eating, in uncertainty, and in hope.
The photo was taken over 15 years ago now. The store front is long gone, and now the impressions of it are a reminder of my mortality.
It is curious how change can affect a person. We often don't know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory. -tM