That morning I woke up and started looking for him by exploring his side of the bed with my left hand. There were only cold sheets touching my skin.
The room was already invaded by light. It was an enormous room with a table and a bed far too large for just a child and a man. There was a blanket on one of the chairs. The cat slept peacefully on the woolen red and from time to time the wood would crackle in the stove that smelled like baked mushrooms. I could feel the heat of the fire on my face.
Outside, I ran barefoot to the edge of the forest hoping that he would be there, somewhere between the tall trees that looked like emperors of the endless greenery. I could feel the dew on my feet while the sun was playing with my hair.
I stopped at the edge of the forest and shouted at the top of my lungs: ‘Grandpa!’ I got no answer so I returned to my room. I knew a long and painful wait was about to come. I closed the door with a hook and crossed my arms. Everything had a new and unpredictable feeling to it. For the first time it was just me and the bright early morning. This was my first autumn with grandpa.
He came back at noon. In the morning he used to pick mushrooms that grew during the night. His basket smelled like earth, grass, and damp leaves.
Anastasia Cojocaru is a queer woman of Romanian heritage currently living in Paris. Her poetry and prose are inspired by her memories growing up in post-communist Romania, the time she spent abroad, and Romanian superstitions, myths & folklore. She writes about moments that she has been affected by in a way that helps her process and understand what she feels. She also loves yoga, cycling, and tango. Find her @nastiacojocaru on Instagram and Twitter.