Late in April, I paid a visit to the elderly gentleman residing opposite my home. A man of notable kindness and impressive education, his father was an architect, and he himself had been employed by a large construction company. Whenever I delivered a local circular to him, our conversations would meander through an array of topics, from film to architecture. In our contemporary world, it’s rare to come across such a gentleman.
I received a phone call from him this April, during which he invited me to his home. Upon my arrival, I immediately noticed his significant weight loss. With a somber demeanor, he revealed his failing health, his heart no longer able to sustain him. His disclosure left me in stunned silence. Despite this, he remained stoic, encouraging me to choose any books or videos from his collection that caught my interest.
Following our conversation, I returned to my own house, fetching a cup of tea and a slice of homemade strawberry tart. His face brightened as he devoured the treat. After spending an hour with him, I made another visit later that day, this time bearing a serving of boiled bamboo shoots, a delicacy particularly enjoyed in the spring season. Gratefully accepting my gift, he looked into my eyes and simply said, “Thank you very much for today.”
I recently came to the sorrowful realization that my neighbor had passed away in May. Remembering him, I am filled with sadness, but also with a sense of honor. Before his departure from this world, I was able to bring him a small measure of joy. Memories of strawberry tart and boiled bamboo shoots will forever remind me of him.