Old Friends by Fernando Raffani

The old man was seated on a park bench, quietly looking at the passersby. The sun was shining brightly, there were people walking and jogging, couples resting embraced under the shades of the trees, children playing, rappies eating popcorn that has fallen on the cobblestones. But the old man was not interested in anything, he was just passing the time.

Another old man passes in front of the bench. He stops, turns to the seated old man and spends some minutes trying to recognize some familiar features in the wrinkled face of the other man. The seated man finds it strange that the unknown old man is looking at him and stares at him inquisitively. The standing old man starts to remember those familiar features and takes a guess. Rolf?

It is me! replies the seated man, a bit startled, since he doesn't recognize the bald and white-bearded man.

Don'cha recognize me?

Oh, Josh? How did you recognize me? I'd never recognize you.

Well, it mus' be da orderly haircuta. It is da same from 50 years ago. The only diff'rence is that your hair's whita nowz.

Well, so I was at a disadvantage. Where is your hair, man?

It is gon from my heada, but my brain z still inside

Haha, I see. Come, sit here, old friend! It has been such a long time, how are things going?

Hmmm... Fine, as long as it'z possib'. You know, at this age...

There is always a pain here, something not working properly there... I'm glad to see you are well. After that great collapse, I really lost contact with you guys.

Me too, that event'a 'as terrible. I had lotta work fixing some machinezz, wrecking the otherz. Now the da's of work ar' gona. But I miss those tima when da climatrola managed da weath'a. Nowadays it is so damn hotta.

You can say that again! I'm currently using sun lotion with spf 120! My doctor has recommended 200, but I think that is exaggerating.

Oh yeah, that' sz too much. I'v a whiter skin than ya, Rolf, and I use 150. By da way, is yer doctor still that girl... Amy?

Oh, no, she moved a long, long time ago. I've never seen her since.

Neither have I. By da way, you'ra the only guy of our groupa I've talk't to sinsa AW1290. Itiz'a pity we have lost ze contact.

Well, it really is, but that was expected. As brothers in arms, we were the greatest friends during the war, but after the war is gone, every man and woman returns to their former lives, as if nothing has happened.

Oh yea’, but ye had more than friendzz backa 'en. Remember that green haired pretta girl? She was in luva with ye, wasn't she?

Shir? Oh, that young rascal! She was in love with me, but you know her, she was too fickle to take seriously. I hope she has settled down because she wasn't easy business!

Haha, that is true, but our Don Juan hada'other girl into him, didn't he? I thought ye wer' married with Anna. What a-happen?

Oh, Anna. She was a big deal, for sure, but I think I just blew it up. I was so busy when I returned from our fight against the Earthmen that I did not give her the proper attention she longed for. Maybe things could have been different, but I couldn't think of a relationship at the times of the Great Collapse. I was also too young... She was a very good person.

And very hotta, too. Too hotta, by da way. Once I've seen her, many years ago, and she 'as still hotta. I'd bet with ya that she iz'till good-looking nowada's, even at her seventies. Yu'v lost a good un...

For sure, but the thing I really regret losing was Nei.

Ah, Nei...

Yes, Josh, she was with me for less than a year, but I can't stop thinking of her. I'm afraid I'm already forgetting how she was...

Yeah.

I looked through my stuff and realized that I had never taken a picture of her. It is so sad, I never wanted her gone, she was so special...

Yeah... Kain starts losing his cheerful mood.

She was so special and there is no record of her existence... When I'm gone, her memories will be gone forever.

Ye...ah

Well, it doesn't matter. My beloved sister, she is gone forever from this universe, but she will always be imprinted in my mind and in my heart...

Rolf didn't notice Kain was standing and leaving him.

In mine too...

What?

In mine too! Farewell, Rolf!

And Kain walked away, not being able to hide the tears. Rolf stood before the park bench puzzled. He has never suspected the deep feelings of his old friend towards his sister.