We stood there in silence for a few moments, before the sound of quick footsteps broke the quiet. A few seconds later, the wall swung inward and a man about my father's age welcomed us inside.
"How many years has it been, Kevin?"
"Four-- far too many." Dad vigorously shook hands with the man, "How you been, Tim?"
"Well, I won't lie to you. It's been-- it's been rough, Kev."
This man, named Tim, then reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a cigarette, stuck one end in his mouth, and lit it. "Damn exhausting, too!" He took a long drag, waited a few seconds, then let the smoke funnel outwards through his lips in a long stream. The gray, noxious cloud it formed smelled bad, and I coughed.
"Tim--" my father motioned from the stranger towards me, "Johnny; my son."
Tim looked down, and eyed me for a second before he clapped his hands together.
"Ah, Johnny!" he exclaimed, "Last time I saw you," he stooped down and placed his hand in front of me about halfway down my height, "you were only this big!" Then, he asked my father, "How old was that again, Kev? Three?"
"Ah yes! At--" Tim fished for an answer.
Dad sighed, "Terry's fourth birthday, Tim."
"Oh, right!" He slapped his forehead softly. "Sorry about that! With all that's happened lately, I've been rather scatterbrained!"
I coughed again; the cloud of smoke nearly in my face. Tim took notice and stood upright again. Then he pulled the fag from his mouth and extinguished it on the stair rail. Afterwards, he grinned, and swung his hand upwards toward a platform above, in this expansive, domed room. "Shall we then?" he said, rather excitedly.