The Man on the Hill

Walking upon the hill, the concrete building popped out of the surrounding landscape like a missile launching base in a flat desert.
It served in former times as a holiday resort for all the hard-working people of a large city-based company. The architecture reflected the ideology and the spirit of those times, so the pointed roof made out of reinforced concrete contrasted tremendously with the surrounding mountain range. This contrast however, enhanced the beauty of the whole tremendously.

 

Curtains blew out of broken windows. Largely abandoned and empty, only in the big, dark basement a pair of tables and benches tried to invite the passing hikers for a break. From a corner out of a hatch came a faint light, where an opening in the wall hosted a shop. Beside the hatch a sign advertises the goods, pivo-beer: 5 koruny , zmrzlina- icecream: 3 koruny , caj-the: 2 koruny. Behind it stood a man, with big black glasses and dressed in a grey-blue overall. Waiting for customers, he looked motionless. The deserted resort and it’s guard faintly reflected a more crowded time.

He left the new ice-creams, which the company send him each year, behind on the lower left side of the freezer. The new splashy advertisement poster remained in the packaging. Every Monday and Friday he displayed only the well-known ice-rockets in the front row.

Some years ago, after a few fusions and changes in the management of
the company, some places in the building were reconstructed. The man
didn’t agree with the decision for a new terrace. But he helped where
he could: sweeping the sand in the evening, making coffee for the
workers. In between he found a piece of the old floor-covering, took it
off very secure an pasted into an album.

Sometimes he dreamed of a bath tube, which suddenly stood in his little room behind the hatch. A bath filled with hot water, the steam of which infatuated and moistened the whole space. He looked at himself lying in the bath, stark naked. He preferred thinking about something else. He didn’t feel well, as if he did something forbidden.

One day there was that photograph of himself in the newspaper. He saw it in an old one in which the fish dealer wrapped up the trout for dinner. The photograph also showed a woman, sitting beside him. Looking longer at the picture he realized that it wasn’t him, but another unknown man, that sat beside the woman. The old guy mixed himself up. There had been times, when a woman staid there with him, a woman who had prepared two dishes when he came home. In some year this woman had been gone.

illustrations by the author
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