top of page


There is a bag. It sits in the back of the old man’s closet and waits to be filled. It has been waiting for years. The bag was gifted to the old man by a lover many years past. It’s utterly non-descript save for the man’s name lovingly embroidered in small, precise lettering just below the opening. The bag is in excellent condition despite its age, nary a scratch on the sturdy brown leather, having lain unused for most of its life. The handles have developed a slight patina, but the padded, robust cross body strap remains fresh, laying coiled inside. The old man, when he was not yet an old man, christened the bag when he travelled for a cousin’s wedding and once more for his one and only holiday. It was to the beach and the bag appreciated the salty sea breeze – anything different from its usual musty spot. The bag doesn’t know it yet, but it will soon hold the most valuable possessions in the old man’s life, the only items he chooses to keep.


The beaten-up copper kettle knows it is loved. The old man uses it daily; once in the morning for a strong cup of black tea, and once again before bed to heat up water for his nightly tisane. But the kettle is tired, it has been working every day for years. It longs for a break and little does it know its retirement is closer than thought. It will soon be left behind, too large to sacrifice valuable space in the bag.




After his early retirement the old man filled his days by roaming the streets of his hometown, committing the boulevards and alleys to memory, and taking in the lives of those around him. He spent day after day slowly absorbing the quotidian routines of the town’s denizens. People recognised him and would always give a friendly wave and a cheery smile. The old man roved the ancient, cobbled town centre alongside the canals he swam in as a child and, later, expanded outwards to the recent developments along the southern border, characterised by their pink hued bricks. And so it went, day after day, year after year. Three days ago marked the end of this.


The old man was walking down a street, peering into all the alleyways, taking note of their features, seeing a familiar face here and there. After a few minutes the old man realised he had a problem. He had been here before. A long time ago, but this place was unquestionably familiar to him. The quaint café on the corner of Arnaud and Fleet streets used to be a trinket shop run by a harridan old woman who took a shining to him. It only took four attempts at divining her favourite pastry before she would make a pot of lemon tea with lashings of honey, and he would sit behind the counter listening to tales of her youth, munching on clementine cakes each Sunday afternoon. The café was boisterous, people sitting outside on the chequered chairs engaging in lively conversation with teapots and half-drunken carafes laid out on the tables, staving off the nip in the air. The sun was already setting despite the early hour, it is almost the solstice after all, and the old man trudged back home, despondent.


Later that evening the man thought about his town where he’s lived all his life and has now walked every street. He calls it his town, but it is more akin to a city. With new suburbs popping up in every direction, he has had a steady stream of places to explore since his childhood. Unfortunately, the urbanisation hasn’t kept up with his voracious walks and now he knows every side street, alleyway, and path around his town. There is nowhere new for him to go. He ate his dinner quietly, any gusto zapped after his realisation and headed to bed early, unexcited for the first time to go for a walk when he wakes up. As he lay on his firm mattress, slivers of moonlight casting shadows around the room, he sighed loudly and tossed from one side of the bed to the other. Sleep did not come easily.




The old man shuts off his alarm clock, having woken up a few minutes prior. Instead of jumping up, getting dressed, and heading off he remains lying down. 15, then 30 minutes pass and he is restless, legs itching to start the day. It has been like this for days now.


The old man has finally made up his mind. He can’t stay here in Myreford. There’s nothing wrong with revisiting places – the landscape of the town changes often enough to guarantee an endless stream of new facades – but the old man yearns for a change in scenery. It is finally time to shed his cocoon and head for faraway lands.

He has heard stories of an expansive shallow lake, with still, crystal clear waters and balmy weather to the east. It’s a popular destination for those seeking respite and peace. He dismisses it instantly, wishing for adventure and intrigue. The far north is blanketed by blistering deserts too harsh for his ageing self and filled with oases brimming with dwellers. He has no interest in travelling to more populated areas than his hometown. With the winter solstice fast approaching the old man recalls his cousin moved to Eyrtille, a lakeside town in the mountains renowned for its solstice celebrations. Perhaps its time for a visit. The old man remembers the bag lying upstairs in the back of the wardrobe, the perfect size for an adventure. He’ll take only what he needs and set off quietly the next morning. The bare necessities, his two legs, one last cup of tea and a destination in mind. ‘Yes’, the old man thinks, ‘that sounds like a plan’.

bottom of page