Story #4: Life on paper
He didn’t understand people too well, numbers were his thing. When capturing them on paper, people often proved unreliable, but numbers always behaved, without ever being dull or lacking surprise. You just need to know how to look at them and they will give you clarity, knowledge, they will reveal or obscure truths.
He was driven to the article he was reading now also by numbers, and he decided then that a business journalist might cover a lifestyle bit, just for a change of scenery. Well, it’s just that he noticed that the years in the article didn’t quite add up and if there wasn’t just some editing mistake, this girl he was reading about –absent minded, really – should have been older than they said she was. Way older, actually.
„Hi…I’m J.L…aaa, I’m a journalist and I was just reading the article in today’s newspaper, about your story and how you got where you are now and just wanted to ask you some questions. I have your phone number from the author, he’s a colleague of mine”, he added, sensing the steep silence on the other side.
„I understand. I’m a bit…”
„It’s about when you left the village. It says here you were 17, but I think…”
„Look, sorry, I would love to answer your questions, but I’m a bit busy now. I’m just heading to the airport, so it will not be possible to discuss now. Thank you for your call, though. Good bye for now!”
„Should we…”set a meeting when you get back”, he wanted to say, but she was already gone.
And that is how he ended up in the next train to the village. To the town closest to the village, for accuracy, but the plan was to get a car and drive there first thing in the morning.
Which was exactly what he did and at 7.30 he had already arrived. You could say that he was a man of action, waking up so early and taking an 1 hour drive on a weekend day, but actually he couldn’t sleep. He was starting to feel somehow self conscious, wasting his time with such a story, when serious economic matters waited to be analyzed. But he had taken the trip there, so he might as well get his answers.
First man he encountered in the village was the postman. Which was a good thing, postmen do tend to know a lot of things.
„Hey there, sir! I’m a journalist and I’m working on a story about S.J. I know she was born here and I was wondering where I could get more details about her family, her childhood…you know, some background stuff for my article…”
„That would be her father. You usually find him in the store at this hour, but today it’s closed, so maybe you could try by his house, it’s the third on the street just there”, said the postman pointing in the direction of a narrow street with lots of trees around the houses.
J. looked a little distrustful at the postman. He remembered clearly that the article said her father was dead so probably there was some kind of mistake with this also. Or maybe the postman was just mixing things up, he was rather old.
„You know, whatever they say, she really was a good girl”, the postman kept talking, oblivious to J.’s puzzled look. „Strong headed, that’s true, but a good girl.” He giggled. „When she was really little, she kept going near the fireplace and her mother, to teach her a lesson, pressed her hand a bit on the stove. When the stove was not really hot, you get it, it was just to teach her a lesson. Must have hurt, though, at least a bit, but she didn’t say a word, not a…”
„Sir”, J. interrupted, „I was under the impression that her father was dead”
The postman giggled again.