By Kujtim Q. Agalliu
A Short story
Three years before I did as I did, but the fourth blacken my soul. How fled three years I did not know because we were uprooted people and sought to be appeased howsoever a little at foreign country, where we led us trouble. As more time passed, so more our mind stand up and homeland be compared to us in our daily conversations and dreams. The longing and worries for our people which we have left behind scorched our souls everyday too more. All dreams take me through the night and leaded in my town, at home and everywhere where had stepped my foot. Even those for whom I had not any great consideration were present in my dreams. I remind the living people and the dead, familiars, friends and boyfriends and my calmness be broken always too more. It that increased me the concern more and more became me not to be calm was my mother. Whenever I speak on the phone she the same question will made me, "My son, do not you come? Do I will to see you once again as I am alive?" I tired to calm her and to promised that I soon will came back, but when we thought about what we expected in our beloved homeland, our feet got broken and it is very difficult for us to take a decision. Mother's question was added and a grief that I hold in my soul for years, without telling anyone: I had to go to the grave of my son and to placing a bouquet of flowers. It made many years that I had not once gone to see the place where rested my poor baby, who was shriveled still without increasing. He appeared almost every night in my dream and told me so chattering: “O dad, as you forgotten me? As you leaved me here among the strangers and gone where I didn’t know? Please, come and see me again dad!" These dreams always dismayed me more and more and one day, I just got up in the morning to go to work I told my wife:- Have you ever thought of thy son which we have not seen for years since we were removed from our city?- Do not remember me, please, that there I have my mind day and night - she answered me and got tearful. I told her about the dreams that I have seen every night and finally I said:
- Finally, we should pack up our cloths and to flee. In addition to the concern for the elderly mother, we also have and dreams that not leave us to be calm.- You, know, but where we will move? There is awaiting us the unemployment and poverty.
- Do not mind killed, a piece of bread we will eat like everyone else.At dinner I warned my children that at end of March we will rise and will be gone. They that do not feel like we the pain as if were hang back from such for a few moments, but I made them clear our reasons for leaving home. I told them that a part of my soul I had left there both with my son who rested in the city cemetery. In addition I explained them that when them going to become themselves parents would understand the pain for their children.
The end of March found us in our house mutilated by the tenant, at E. The belongings and old clothes that we brought with took three or four days to collated. Just as we fell at rest I said my wife that I was not comfortable. Two concerns were most important for me: to see my mother and to get out her anxiety and to kindle a candle and to place a bouquet of flowers to the grave of my son.Just I so did. After I met my mother, who wept with joy, I kept my breath to the cemetery of city. Before we crossed the gate of the cemetery we stopped and got a great bunch of artificial flowers to a florist from the many that were several meters before the gate of the cemetery. We greeted the gravedigger that seated at the door before a dugout where visitors throw any money, and I put in my hand in pocket and I threw some pin money for mercy. With my wife abreast I kept the breath where I thought there was buried my angel for many years ago. To say the truth I was some confused because the appearance of cemetery completely had changed. That that I had in my sight very little resembled with that of the old-time. I flipped around my eyes to be oriented: everywhere were the expensive reliquary bust surrounded by iron railings painted with different paints. Dominant was the black color. At random I went to the place that I remembered for years and I slitting through the huge shells and after I counted on some graves I approached to one that had merely a name on a square concrete slab. There was not my son's name. I walked a little further, but the same thing. I turned and entered to the next row that perhaps maybe I was wrong and was looking there useless. Very few such graves with concrete slabs around may be occupied the eye. Even there I could not found anything. My wife, when she saw that we are not to found it she got shrink by bitterness. I calmed down her, saying that we would go to gravedigger and would find it very easily through the registry of the dead.- God will probably like and they have such a registry! – My wife calmed down.
I gave some pin money gravedigger and I prayed him to asks for my son's name on the register of burial.- Eh, you my brother, - he turned to me, - these records that I posses nor have the half of sheets. However maybe you have good luck and we can find it. How was the name of your boy?
I told him his name and were seeing with anxiety the movements of his thumb when it is passing without stopping from page to page. He stopped. I breathed easily: "At last, I thought at ease!" My wife was ready to be tearful. The tears are shining to the corners of her eyes. Gravedigger raised his head and said:- Line thirteen, grave number 176. I believe that it there would be found.
I barely distinguished the tables in the corners of each row. I was dizzy and my eyes were worn with worry whether I shall put a bouquet of artificial flowers to the grave of my son or not. The dreams had rose me from thousands of miles away and brought up me just here.
But my disappointment knew no limit. Exactly into number and the line that gave me good-hearted keeper there stood stately a tomb surrounded by a high iron railing. Just at the top was a giant sculpture of a young man about twenty-five old. There, among other things marked: "Killed by bands of 1997" and then who had committed him that grave. My feet was cut off and I pinned on to the arms of my wife. She herself was poisoned with pain. She tighten the flowers bunch with her hands and did not know what to speaks. To my anxiety and I threw a look at a couple of nearby graves lest perhaps even could be involuntarily confused the correct place. If not ... nowhere seemed his soul of daddy. Everywhere it is a mortuary silence. Just some bees move from one rosebud to another without thought for troubles of the living. What to do I? Where to find the grave of my son in this kingdom of speechless, where swarmed only scoreless iron and concrete. The artificial flowers distributed for days or perhaps months through the narrow paths between the graves covered their cold marbles. An ominous thought began to punish me. Maybe not ... maybe not, my mouth do not dared to pronounce that thought. However I not abstained anymore, but I told my wife my concern: - They do not make us any racket, my wife! –- Woe is me, God forbid, God forbid - she cried and the tears flowed from her eyes. - And this have they done?- And it is possible. Gone away seventeen years that we are made not alive. Today anything can happens, my wife! - Don’ hurry! We can turn back once again and ask gravedigger. Maybe they have changed the row in the registry.With vertiginous feet we went back to the gate. The gravedigger raised his shoulders, not knowing what to say to us.- Sir, does happens to becomes any racket here?He at first did not understand, so he asked me:- Tell me more clearly, sir. To fix what do you mean with racket?- Here, for example, to fetch a grave when the relatives have years that are not interested?
He was found without preparation, but as he bounced backed me his response:
- What does happens today, my sir. If anybody have some money even your grave he can buys.
His hesitated response convinced me fully that my son's grave had been purchased. It was a strong slap to me. They had done me the best when I crossed through the streets of emigration leaving my more expensive relatives without seeing for years. I told my wife to consoles herself and to sets the bunch of flowers in a tomb somewhere else. She just so did. We did not had what to expect for most. The remains of our son who knows in what waste basket were completed. Even if we can finished all our lives we can not would find again his remains. I cast the eyes back to the town of graves. White, black bars, sculptures, cast artificial flowers everywhere. Everywhere cold, silence, a speechless kingdom that had begun to be governed from the graves merchants. The only living thing there were roses, and buzzing bees through their petals, and goalkeeper or gravedigger that the most of the time stayed in front of dugout filled with pin moneys. It seemed me that there was also and spirit of my son, who seemed to cried me with the voice of paradise from the buds of roses. "Never mind, Dad, and you Mom. I am here, among the roses and am playing with bees. They bought my grave, but my spirit is free, it never buys anyone! " With his calls after our back, both, I and my wife moved out too more disappointed and too more distressed than before, backed strongly to each other. Translated by author TranT