From Lek Pervizi
Memorie.al / The sun were setting and the evening was getting ready, so it was night’s turn. I was lying on the bed to rest for a while. Retired, I had no work to do. Suddenly several children’s screams were heard. Aureli came running followed by three children his age. They were angry and insulted Aurelius. When they saw me at the door, they were pretty far away, across the plank bridge over the canal in front of the house.
-Aureli has broken the windows of our house with slingshots – shouted those ants to a fairy –
– We will show him the pleasure.
They were the children of a mechanic whom I had known for a long time.
– What are you looking for? Leave Aurel alone. Go back to your house – I told them and turned to my son.
– Aurel, who told me about this confusion? Did you really break the windows?
– No, dad, I swear I didn’t do anything. The windows of that window were broken a month ago. They are the ones who broke them by throwing stones at their friends. I don’t know why they want to accuse me now that I have never worn or wear a garter belt.
Meanwhile, four or five other people were talking among themselves. I had the impression that they had scheduled that meeting in front of our apartment for a purpose… well, definitely someone had organized it. A little later, Dorian, the second son, returned from work, who was surprised to see that group of boys sitting in front of the house, near the bridge. I ordered him to go into the house and not to come out, and not to say a word to them.
Other boys joined them and it became quite a crowd. There were about fifteen people. I decided to talk to them because they claimed that Aureli had broken their windows. But why did it bother me? Everyone knew that I also did glass work. All they had to do was tell me and I would have fixed their window. I got the impression of a possible danger. And I thought I had to be careful with these villains. I spoke to those who claimed that Aureli broke the windows.
-Listen guys, I know your father well. I worked with him as a colleague for almost 20 years. We had a good time both at work and socially, and your father is a good mechanic and tractor driver. As for the windows, why did it bother me? All you had to do was tell me and I would have fixed them. That’s how things were fixed between us, and there’s no need to create confusion and gather this crowd in front of our house. I tried to soften the situation a little.
I didn’t get any response from them. Except I saw that my words had an effect. When the new arrivals, older than me, began to show an aggressive behavior. I understood that it was a deliberate provocation. They started cursing.
-Enemy of the people! Agent of American imperialism! Titist! Reactionary! Tsarist and other navies.
At that time, my eldest son, Leonardi, also came.
– What is happening here? – He said worriedly.
As I did with Dorian, I also told Leo to enter the house and not to leave it.
-I deal with these…- I told him.
When I looked at the buildings in front of me, I saw that some of the residents had come out of the window. Why? It certainly seemed that something was conspired against us. Drama or tragedy? I had to keep my cool until the end. Some of the strangers were their children. What did they want there? Why didn’t they call and reprimand them?
-Listen here guys! Find out once and for all that it’s not okay to use offensive words. Understand that we, although we are political prisoners like being interned, we have the right to protection from the State. We didn’t choose it ourselves by coming and living and working here, alongside our fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters. Dependent on the Ministry of the Interior, and it has brought us here to Pluk. If you have any objections, go and see the operator.
– Yes, you know how to speak, because you went to school in Italy, you spoke to me, you grew up among them, but the Party has taught us to be vigilant with you and not to fall into the spider’s web of sugary words of our enemies.
-Don’t look, don’t look. Aren’t you Brigadier Myrto’s son? Don’t your nana and sisters work with my wife? You know how well they take it. Then it’s been almost 30 years since we met your child, without any disagreements. I also told your friends that we depend on the Ministry of the Interior, only we are accountable to it.
If you have something to complain about us, then keep yourself alert, grab the operative of the area, Captain Bardhi, and go and tell him that you know us better than he and the Ministry of the Interior.
I felt that I was obliged to give such clarifications, because I understood that this was a dirty provocation created by the caste, with bad consequences, and in this particular case for me and my family.
It was the time when the political situation in the country had started to take a bad turn for the communist regime. Now we were exposed to a new danger: the final blow of the dying monster’s tail. These young men were definitely incited by some fanatical communist, with weight in the party. Already the windows of the surrounding buildings were full of spectators for the “film” that was going to unfold before their eyes.
I was ready to face their attack, protected by the bridge, where only one of them could pass. I saw that their goal was to attack me and maybe set fire to our apartment. He should have been determined, but also prudent. Four other boys were added to the group, also with threats.
– What do you remember that we will let you take power without shedding blood? Never! You are the enemies of the people and the party! Our party is strong and will crush their heads with its iron fist!
-Namiku is right, a couple of others intervened, and we must break the necks of these agents of American imperialism and Titist revisionism.
I was forced to intervene. -I heard. I told you. Call the operations officer, Captain Bardhi, who is in charge of us, and tell him what you have decided to do. Go and inform him about this job. Be careful, this is not a wrong provocation of yours, and the consequences will fall on you and your friends.
You there, aren’t you the son of the tractor driver Sako? I have known and worked with him for thirty years. Is he the one who taught you to behave so arrogantly? I will ask him and you know very well that he will answer me in the negative. The boy lowered his head and fell silent.
I didn’t understand why this work was happening. I suspected it, but he didn’t know. It could also be an act of these vagabonds themselves. But there were already too many. The evening was falling slowly and the windows of the buildings were lit up, but no one was pulling out of their window.
Apparently they were aware of something and were waiting for the programmed film to end. How would it end? Even the electric light on the pole in front of our house came on. My wife Beba was coming. I signaled him not to interfere. She asked me what all those people wanted there. I told him to go inside and stay with the children. None of them should move from the apartment.
One of the young people raised the alarm: – Here is Beba, this enemy of the people and the party. Princess Baby. Hahahahaha! Granddaughter of King Nicholas of Montenegro! Ha, ha, ha, what princess…?!
Yes, yes, that’s why she is the closest friend of your two sisters, with whom you have been working for several years! Pa asked them who Beba is. Listen now: if you came for the broken windows, I promised to fix them tomorrow, if you had any other reason, go back to your parents and families.
None of them deliberately took a step towards me. They waited just as motionless, throwing some insulting words. Our apartment was a bit isolated. On one side, the road that separated us from the buildings. From the north, 100 meters away, the car road passed. A boy was running from that road, shouting and throwing stones at me, luckily no one hit me.
It was Çimi, a known vagabond who was also held as a capoband of the youth of Pluk. He was known as the outspoken, streetwise and brainless boy. When he found himself among the group, he continued to swear, but restrained himself, I was told. I knew his family well, they were orthodox greengrocers. A quiet family. His father and uncle were communists, while his mother and sisters also worked in a brigade with Beba, and they got along well. Çimi himself greeted me every time he saw me, and was kind to my children.
– Don’t listen, Çimi. You are so humane when you meet me on the street and greet me. You are good with my children. And I know how well I get along with your father and aunt, who have known each other for 30 years. And your sisters, aren’t they close friends of my wife, who have been working together for several years now?
How dare you throw stones at me, a man that your people, even you, respect and are among the first families, together with yours, who came to live and work in Pluk? Who has filled his mind, behaved so rudely? I did not expect this behavior from you. Shame on you!! He didn’t answer.
From the palaces, all eyes were focused on that most unexpected scene. The show went on. Drama or tragedy. The weak light of the street lamp in front of our apartment gave the scene a look worthy of Rembrandt’s brush. Night fell. Surprisingly, no one passed that way that night. It seemed that people were aware that something was going to happen there, plotting against our family.
Cimi, after speaking with his friends, suddenly started running towards the sector. The whole gang ran after their leader and in the blink of an eye, they disappeared like a magic wand. I was surprised with that sudden change of band. The show was over. The windows of the palaces were closed and slammed as if in anger.
I joined my family in the kitchen; we were all still worried about what happened and what could have turned into a tragedy. My wife, Beba, had immediately understood the danger weighing on us that evening. And in her mind, she was determined to deal with the boys as best she could. Two hands for one head. The danger had suddenly passed. Of course, my composure in the face of that crowd of rascals, incited, had an effect. I was not afraid of the pack of hounds…!
And while we were exchanging our thoughts, we heard the song of the kojshija behind our apartment.
– Baby! Baby…! Go out the window, because I have something to say.
After a few minutes, Beba returned full of oil. What would have happened? Through tears, she began to tell us:
– They killed Faik Ghyshe’s brother, the desolate boy! Kojshija tell me. When Çimi ran away with his gang, he went and fell on Faik’s brother’s neck, stabbing him with a knife, and then the others suffocated him with bricks…!
Everything that had been prepared for us or for me personally, it seems, had been applied to that young man. The tragedy that was being prepared for our family went and was realized in another family, a wise family, also close to the party. The murdered man’s father carried a rifle and was the guard of the weapons warehouse. He wanted to kneel on the gang, but the eldest son, Faiku, did not let him.
The entire sector was shocked. What was going on? What was this crime spree? The victim was known as a wise, calm and kind-hearted young man. But everyone understood that that tragedy had happened from the failure to realize the first tragedy against us. So that they could not complete their criminal mission, against us, they had gone and vented on their friend of the same age, without any reason. Also useless. As if it was a game of chance.
A sacrifice that definitely had to be made. They told me rightly, even though we were living days full of hope, we were very worried. The foreseeable fall of the communist dictatorship had prompted some individuals organized by the Party and the Security, to carry out reprisals against the opposing class like ours.
A tense situation of anarchy had begun to spread rapidly everywhere. The people were realizing that the system of absurd terror, which had ruled for 46 years, had come to an end. It was said that if we took the power into the hands of the persecuted, we would take revenge on them. Then why not get rid of us right now, the first ones?
That night passed without further incident. The next morning, while I was alone at home making coffee, someone called me from the street. It was Hyseni, a mechanic with whom I had a good, albeit formal, friendship. He was a communist, so he had a good job as a turner, but a fair man. He had respect and consideration for us, because one of his uncles, a former officer, had served with my father, with the rank of lieutenant, so he had sympathy for him, as one of the highest officers of the army and an outstanding figure of Albanian patriotism.
– Good luck Leka! You found out that the one who found Faik’s brother was prepared for you. You knew how to control the situation thanks to your coolness and your noble spirit. You managed to disarm them with your word, that group of vagabonds and organized criminals. You definitely understood where that shot was coming from. You understand that I cannot say more. But don’t worry, because after this tragic event, the case is closed. To the one who understands, say a few words. Goodbye friend!
It was more like a goodbye, because after that day we never saw or heard from each other again. After he left, I was thinking. The communists, it seems, were already regretting that they had not exterminated us earlier, since they took power 46 years ago. Everything I told you above was the plot for a tragedy that would definitely end in tragedy. It’s just that fate didn’t want it to happen in our family. It was right to say: Man does his best, God decides. Memorie.al