February 2021, Aarau (Switzerland)

“Alex, which coincidence is most memorable to you?”

Alex was unsure if he would be able to do this story justice, as there were 4 independent moments that would eventually come together.

The first moment took place 15 years ago, when he was a teenager and often played in the chess club. Different generations were represented, people got to know each other, and sometimes he would play against an elderly man who was quiet and helpful and always smiled gently when he greeted Alex. Although Alex called all the players in the club by their first names, he still called the elderly man by his surname, which was mutual. Why? Maybe out of respect, but maybe just because.

The second moment took place 10 years ago, when he sat in school. He disliked some of the subjects – he had to read German literature for example which wasn’t his favorite activity. The teacher, who had probably been active in his profession for many years, was passionate during the lessons, but this didn’t have much influence on the class. Therefore, Alex soon forgot which books they had been reading.

The third moment took place 2 years and 2 months ago, when he was looking for volunteers to shoot a short film. A few people got in touch, including a young, humorous man with a deep voice that would be perfect for the radio. To this day, Alex and this man have stayed in touch.

The fourth moment took place 33 days ago, on a Tuesday, when Alex visited his mother. At the dining table, he was aimlessly leafing through the newspaper, something he rarely did otherwise. Suddenly, something caught his eye.

To understand the connections between these 4 moments, we must travel back in time: Several years ago, when, after a long break, Alex was once again at the chess club. Times had changed, additional people had joined, others had left, but the elderly man was a loyal member and now he approached Alex and said, “I think you know my son.”
“Your son?” Alex asked, surprised, because he had no idea who that might be.
“You took his German class.”
Alex hadn’t expected that, but coincidences were known to happen.

A few years passed, the short film was already shot and published. Suddenly, Alex receives a message from one of the actors. It was the one with the radio voice, “I think you know my father.”
“Your father?” Alex asked, surprised, because he had no idea who that might be.
“You took his German class.”
Alex was more than just surprised now, because he remembered, smiled and wrote back, “So, I know your grandfather too.”

Whether to call that coincidence or fate, Alex didn’t know. But he couldn’t help smiling while thinking of how he had met 3 generations independently. How the fourth moment is connected to this, one might guess now. The elderly chess player, who wasn’t forgotten because of his friendly and warm personality, unfortunately passed away unexpectedly. Although he had sat opposite the elderly man in silence for the most part, although he had rarely exchanged many words with him, he realized that there had been a stronger connection than he had thought. So, he paused over the obituary for a few minutes, thinking about how one never knows what life will hold next. And that the deceased often live on in other people’s memories, and that this number of people could be larger than one might think.


If you like this project, come visit me in the memotheque.