Shantih Journal 3.1 - Page 106

still the wind blew and the billows broke in foam along the beach. The nearest beach to us on the other side, whither we looked, due east, was on the coast of Galicia, in Spain, whose capital is Santiago, though by old poets’ reckoning it should have been Atlantis or the Hesperides; but heaven is found to be farther west now. Beautiful. Did you know Thoreau lived right here on Staten Island for awhile, maybe looking out at our bay?” ​ ndrew nodded, although he had not known. He liked the sound of the words, A which seemed to make his grandfather happy. But when he looked up at Andrew, his eyes looked scared and sad. Why was Buelo sitting there, half in the dark, with those old, dusty objects all around him? Why was he reading about the past and heaven? He looked like he was trapped alone in his falling-apart house. Andrew wanted to yank Buelo out of that chair. Get him outside where they could walk in the woods and breathe the ocean. “What’s wrong, son?” The boy looked like he was about to scream or cry. 106 ​ ndrew backed away, mumbling that he had to get home. He couldn’t tell his A grandfather what he was really feeling. He ran back out the door, away from the house, away from all the huddled little houses. ​ Gil needed to talk to the boy and maybe find out why he’d run away. So he decided to do something he hardly ever did: walk over to visit Beatriz and Stanley. He headed into the woods, along a path worn by countless walkers, winding past a small pond toward the next development, where Beatriz lived. The woods were very quiet except for the occasional sound of a car or truck speeding along the big road. Otherwise, onl y bird-calls—long cawing sounds, short twitters—and the crunch of his weathered walking shoes on the gravel and leaves. He paused, took a deep breath. The air felt good, smelled of trees and faintly of the bay. He listened for the sounds of animals moving around him, somehow communicating with him as he used to imagine they could in the fields and forests when he was a boy. Listening to the faint rustling sounds, Gil suddenly felt very alone, very small. The sound grew louder and began to frighten him, even though he told himself that