My grandfather Jan was a secretive man. Secretive by nature, he remained secretive also, de facto, in his garage. He was tinkering with various machines, working a bit on the car, a bit on the motorbike; he would always grind something, weld a bit, sometimes he went down to the pit, under the car, sometimes he would remove the entire engine from the car with the help of a ceiling crane he had installed himself. He had a very well equipped workshop in his garage, and he must’ve moved around it in a very competent way, and certainly willingly and meticulously, but I have no idea about it and, to tell the truth, I doubt whether any of Jan’s activities in his workshop had any deeper purpose. It seems to me that Jan was rather killing time out there, in this workshop, by waiting, with a kind of growing impatience as he aged, for the end. Drinking vodka to pass the time. For a long time I thought that he was a cold, stern and indifferent man, but today I think that he was a man full of pain, the sources of which I do not know and he most probably he did not know them himself; in any case, he was unable to find an outlet or way of expression for them. Having never found them, at some point he died, for no apparent reason, not being that old yet, or ailing. He was certainly a man of quite strong will, of iron will, as they say, at least in some spheres of life, and I suspect that his passing, which bore all the hallmarks of a sudden and natural death, was a matter of a decision he made.
Jan was a son, a grandson and a great-grandson. His endless and unexpressed pain and sorrow were — must have been an echo of some past generations, in a way; now propagated further through his successive sons, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Everyone is a son (yes, or a daughter), a grandson and a great-grandson, which gives me uncontrollable heartache.
Not the best of weeks, but full of enlightening experiences and observations. The last one in my 42nd year of life. My hair have turned grey quite considerably, which I observe not without a certain level of satisfaction. I’m a little hangover, but I carry on.
(transl. Magdalena Małek-Andrzejowska)