it was a lovely sunny day, a day right after 1st of may. he was never tired. he used to say “nobody can make an old man tired”.
i guess he is the only person i knew who was the only child and wasn’t spoiled. on the contrary. he lost his mum as a young man and father would often beat the life out of him. my grandma would mention that from time to time, in silent, sad voice. still, he never said anything bad about his father.
he was very smart. best student in school and great in mathematics and mechanics. teacher wanted him to sent to Zagreb for better school. his father didn’t allow it coz they were poor and there were no scholarships at that time.
he fought as partisan in ww2 and won some medals. he did some very brave thing and only 3 of them survived the battle. later he was working as mechanic and professional bus driver. remember telling me how he drove team of manchester united. he had enormous energy and was extremely disciplined: he would wake up at 4 or even earlier depending on a bus shift. guess that’s why he was never ever late to pick me up or drive me whenever it was necessary.
he knew everything about electricity, motors, in general he was maestro with hands. nevertheless he loved to be freshly shaved, always dressed as a gentlemen and always always had a wonderful scent. young people adored him coz his spirit was young too. also he could sang perfectly. and he could swear like no one..i could right a book only on this topic.
in my teenage years I lived with him and that was my favourite time. it was perfect, we had our own routine and I loved his alpha male energy.
for these past couple of days i’m fixing things in my new apartment and thinking, ‘boy if he could only see me with my black ‘n’ decker machines’. my mum says that’s not lady like and I say i’m happy to be great with hands, i can build or fix almost anything.
past started to haunt him. he would tell me about nightmares he gets, horrific scenes from ww2. he was living alone, his wife / my grandma died before him. most of his friends were gone and his coffee routine was not enough to hold him. he was afraid of dying alone. I felt he is finally tired, his soul needs a final rest.
on that perfect day he was staying in a hotel. my mum&aunt thought it would do him good to take some spa. he had his breakfast then took a long walk on a promenade to the centre, where he took his daily routine, coffee and newspapers. after that he again walked the same way back to hotel for lunch.
they served him a soup. he didn’t eat it till end, rather dived with his head right into it – an instant death.
instead of dying slowly alone, he died as if thunder stroked in full hotel’s restaurant. on that day, the hotel hosted some doctors’ symposium so lots of doctors gathered when he performed his ‘soup free dive’. yet they couldn’t do anything for he already passed to another dimension. he was proud that his grandson / my brother was a doctor. and he was proud of me as a painter coz he knew nothing about art.
he is my grandpa Jure Maslaĉ, human being that never let me down.