He was about four years old.
Every day, by the time his grandfather was back from college, he would be dressed up and ready, eager for the evening walk, his daily adventure. His grandfather would take him out for a walk and they would go to the park nearby, visiting all those stores on the way, meeting all those people his grandfather knew.
They would walk the calm streets, all the way to the park. His grandfather would sometimes stop to talk to people they met on the way and he would wonder how much everybody smiled at his grandfather, all the while gripping his fingers like his life depended on never letting go. They would go to the park and sit beneath his favourite tree. He loved to play in the park with the other kids but he loved more to be with his grandfather, to talk to him, to pester him to tell him stories and then answer all the questions he would ask.
There would be tales of wonderful lands, of gods who could change their faces at will, of greedy and selfish men who were punished, of good men who would sacrifice their lives to battle evil and save the world. Then there would be the questions. How big was the world? Could he see god if he wanted to talk to him? Where did all the good men go when they died? Why were evil people evil? How could he grow up sooner?
And he got an answer for everything.
How could he know so many stories?
How could he know everything about everything?
That was what he wanted to become when he grew up, his grandfather. Exactly him. To know exactly how much he knew. He would always ask him how he knew so much and his grandfather would always give him the same answer.
Books, he would say.
The park has moved on, the streets have, and time has, but those conversations still thrive, among timeless tales and the trivialities of the world's life, and the little mind still feeds off the wiser one. Nineteen years and scores of those little rectangles later, the old man still knows everything about everything and I'm in the darkness still, chasing the shadow of the wise mind I once marvelled at as a four year old.