By Memisha Gjonzeneli
Memorie.al / It were Sunday afternoon. I was bothered by a pain in the middle of my shoulder. Since I was on vacation, I decided to go to Dr. Isuf Hysenbegasi. We were familiar with the doctor. His father had been in prison with him. Whenever we had any medical need, we went to him. The doctor always welcomed us with a smile. Even today I remember his smile, which had such an effect that it removed half of the disease. My father told me that the doctor had saved who knows how many lives in prison. Ready at any time, articulate and with the permanent “medicine”, his special smile. All the prisoners knew him, who quite rightly said: “Doctor Isufi is ours”. I knocked on the door, which was opened for me by my wife, a lady, who recognized me and invited me inside.
– The doctor has some work; I believe it will be over soon, please sit down. He asked me if I wanted coffee. “No, thank you”, I said and sat down in the chair to wait for him. The doctor was running late. I got upset and got up to run away, when I heard a voice from behind: – You, Muhammad’s son, where are you? You want to run away without saying goodbye, pal?!
I sat down shyly and greeted him: -How are you, doctor?
– I’m fine, – he said, – why did you bother?
-I have a stab wound on my shoulder. He turned to his wife and asked her: – Made coffee for the boy? – She didn’t want to, – she replied.
Before he could finish speaking, there was a knock on the door. The doctor opened it himself and a woman appeared at the door crying: – Please doctor, save my husband, I am very sick, it is not mentioned, please help me!
– Where is your husband? – He asked.
– It’s at home, near here, a block away.
The doctor put the tools he thought he needed into a bag and got up. “You son of Muhammad, come tomorrow”, he told me as if he felt guilty.
– No doctor, I will come with you, – I said and took the bag from his hand. The house was not far away, in a palace nearby. They lived on the second floor and had a three-bedroom apartment, where four people lived. So it was a privileged family for the time. A guy in his thirties opened the door for us, who accompanied us to the bed where the patient was.
-Please help us, -he turned to the doctor, -father is very sick. The doctor put his hand on his forehead and then on his chest. The patient was drenched in sweat. He checked him with a stethoscope and gave him an injection. Then he took a towel, wet it with cold water and rubbed it. The patient had a high temperature and was not being mentioned. The doctor took out the prescription pad, tore a piece of paper from it, wrote something on it and turned to his son:
– What is the father’s name?
– Jani Gjembi.
– Was he a soldier?
– Yes, – said the son, – but now he is retired.
-Take the prescription and come back quickly. The boy was reluctant. The doctor understood the concern, put his hand in his pocket, took out 150 ALL and put it in his hand. The boy ran out to the pharmacy. The doctor had turned yellow wax. He looked at the sick man. Something stammered to itself. His mind was spinning, the room was spinning. I approached him, grabbed his hand and asked: -Doctor, are you okay?
The doctor did not feel. After a while he said: – No, I’m fine. He was recovering and calmed down, but something seemed to be tormenting him inside. Only a few moments passed and the doctor completely calmed down. I let go of his hand. He took the towel again and put it on the sick person’s forehead. The boy who brought the medicine came. He opened penicillin and injected it into his body. His temperature started to drop.
The four of us were sitting next to the patient’s bed, me and the doctor on one side, the son and the wife on the other. The patient moved a little, opened his eyes and saw Dr. Isufi.
-Where am I here? – He asked. – Are we still in cell 7? Are we not done yet?
He closed his eyes again and lost consciousness again. The doctor’s body shuddered, his eyes filled with tears. He just wanted to get out of there as soon as possible. He collected what he had taken out of the bag, put them inside and gave them to me. I had never seen him like that, his face waxy yellow, he looked so tired.
– Come on, let’s go – he told me, and before going out the door, he turned to them and ordered: – Don’t forget, every four hours, two grains. Don’t worry, it will be fine.
As we left, we looked at two framed pictures hanging on the wall.
In one, the patient had come out, filled his chest with decorations, while in the other four officers, they also filled their chests with decorations, two of whom the doctor knew very well, were criminals just like Jani. The son stopped us at the door and told us to wait for the mother who was bringing the money, but the doctor quickly returned it:
-We will come again, don’t worry… -and we left.
– Doctor, – I asked, – where did these officers get all those medals…?! I don’t know if there was any war. The doctor looked me in the eye and laughed bitterly. He looked once to the side to see if there was anyone, then, in a low voice, he said to me:
-Listen, son, the one who tortures you the most, gets the most decorations…! Those you saw had taken it all. Together with the doctor we returned to his house. – I will leave because it is late, – I told him. – Sit there! – He returned to me as if by order. Then he told his friend to make a coffee. He lay down well on the couch. The lady brought him coffee. He seemed still worried. He put the cup to his lips and took a long swig of coffee. He looked at me and looked at me with a warning. I started to worry.
-Doctor, is you okay? – I asked her.
– I’m getting better, my friend, – he said and sipped his coffee again. He left the cup on the table and turned to me in all seriousness:
– Now you will find out the whole story, which has worried me so much today. The person we just visited was my investigator. For more than a year, he has not left torture untried on my body.
Oh God, what did that monster do to me there in cell number 7? I can’t forget when he tied me to the toilet pipe and beat me systematically. He often took friends with him to “entertain” them. They would also beat me and leave laughing. He spent more than a year in that cell. For every day he told me: – Here you will leave your bones…! I won’t let you get out alive…! See, even today it seemed as if we were in cell number 7″!
That was all you heard today…! Now we felt better, I shared my boredom with my friend’s son.
-And you, doctor…?! – No, son, don’t say anything. I know what troubles you, but you must understand that we are not and will never be like them. Listen to what I’m telling you.
I had always adored that rare man, but that day the adoration surpassed all imagination. For no moment did he avoid his duty as a doctor, as well as a man. My eyes filled with tears from his words. I remembered myself when I was in the cell.
Even though I was a child, the executioners did not want to know, the torture continued. I stood up and went to hug him. With tears in my eyes, I opened the door and went home, but the unforgettable memory of that night and the man who made it possible, Doctor Isuf Hysenbegasi, remained behind. Memorie.al
CHICAGO – USA