By Zyba Hysen Hysa
The first part
– Xhevahirja –
Memorie.al / It was the last days for the graduates of the “Jani Minga” school in Vlora, who, after completing the exams, would receive their teaching diploma. Like every high school graduate, Xhevairja also felt the anxiety and joy of finishing school and often withdrew from society and dreamed. “How will I live without my friends? We have shared joys and worries… we have also shared our first emotions showing each other with a childlike sincerity and openness. How will I live without them?” – he thought and flipped through the notebook of memories which was not yet finished, but Klodi, Shpresa, Vitoria, Merushja, Penelope, Nadineja, Hamideja, Pashako, Vangjelia, Elpiniqi… had written them down in beautiful writing, where they expressed their love socially clean and the concern that one day he might forget them. He stopped at Klodi Kadut’s page, where he wrote, among other things: “Xhevo, I don’t believe you will forget me, and if you do, remember the jokes we used to make together…”! He read them and started laughing to himself. “Well, where can I forget my four-year life, where we shared time and food together? Oh my friend, how much humor you brought me, you never left me bored…”
It continued further, to Hope. He started to laugh out loud. He had written an equation after making the simplifications and finished: To [4du] . 4a = I love you”! With Natasha, he laughed even harder when he wrote: “If the donkey gets on the roof, then the society will also break…”! Or Vitorja: “When the Volga bursts, it’s hard to cross it, when the friend loves it, it’s hard to forget…”
– Xhevo, – a voice interrupted him.
– Oh, how you scared me! – she returned instead of answering.
– I really have the voice of a boy, but like you, girl, you don’t have to be afraid of me, – said Myzua, her close friend.
– I was reading the memoirs of my friends and I don’t know why I feel like I won’t see my friends anymore…?!
– Mountain and mountain do not meet, people meet…!
– My friend, two names were once engraved on the walls of the school.
Separation had turned into anxiety for them. During the conversation one day, one of her friends had told that when they had finished the seventh grade, the guardian teacher had gathered them under a tree and told them:
– Dear students raise your heads and look at this tree.
The students looked closely to see if there was any bird nursery, but they saw nothing.
– What do you see? – The teacher asked them.
– Nothing, teacher…!
– Look at it again…!
Again and again the students looked up, and every time they looked up, the teacher asked them the same question, “What do you see?”, but the students gave the same answer, “Nothing, Master!” Then the teacher said to them:
– Look at this tree once more!
They all raised their heads again, but the teacher did not ask them that question again, but said:
– Now look at each other carefully.
The students looked at each other in surprise and did not understand what this meant. Then the teacher added:
– Remember this tree and every time you pass by, remind each other that you will never be as gathered as you are today!
Of all the conversations, this confession of that friend did not leave his mind. Memories are written in the heart, in the soul, but these young girls still had their souls as a white sheet, undisturbed, untrodden, so they sought to write simple things, but which in years would be treasures… !
It was the year 1967. The summer holidays passed with longing for school, for friends, for frank jokes, for endless conversations… and finally the appointment came.
Doing their job, the “horses” of the Party, the news spread that 11 girls from Vlora have expressed their desire to go to the North, to spread the light of the Party. This “volunteer” initiative was based on the action: “The War against Backward Customs and Religious Superstitions”, which had recently broken out in the four corners of the country, destroying churches, mosques, mosques, and endowments, everything that had to do with it with religion, preserving only some of them as “Museum objects”.
Among these 11 girls was Xhevahirja together with Myzejeni, who were assigned to the villages of Tropoja.
She was very sad that she was going to leave home, but when she thought about the extreme poverty of her family, which had come 10 years ago from the village of Mallkeq and settled in a barangay near the stadium, she was happy, because she thought that something would happen was left from his salary to bring him home, where there were 12 people and none at work, because most of them were minors and the father was disabled.
The day of departure was organized as a party. Friends had come out to see them off, singing and cheering. It was a delirious enthusiasm, just like a butterfly goes to the light and gets burned, even those girls just out of the school halls were stopped by the unknown shown by the words of pimps, when they want to deceive minor girls.
They were ordered to get into the newly arrived car, which was a gray “Skoda” and they all pushed each other into the body. They all went forward to hold on to the platform, because it had just been emptied of soil and there was no way to sit down.
The car started. All eleven raised their hands and greeted their relatives, hiding their tears. Gathered together like birds without a clod, silence took over them and they began to think idly about the place where they were going. Bits of thoughts of relatives came to mind, which had left traces of anxiety within them. Their escort, a member of the Education Section and one of Security, were inside the cab of the car, but when they could not feel the girls, they ordered the driver to stop.
– Why don’t you sing? – He scolded the girls below.
– You are a village teacher, you have students in your heart… – they started to sing in one voice, instead of answering.
– This is how the Party and Comrade Enver loved it! You are the light commissars of the Party! – He said and entered the cabin again and the car started.
The road to Tropoja was long and most of it was unpaved, so when a car passed in front of them, they were drowned by the smoke of the road and little by little, their features were transformed so much that you could not distinguish them who was Xevua, which Myzua, which…?! Neither had a watch, but they knew that they left Vlora early and arrived in Tropoja at night. The car stopped and the voice of the State Security man was heard.
– Get off! We arrived in Tropoja!
– They came down giving each other hands again and stood again like birds without a stick.
– Welcome friend! – A voice was heard in the darkness.
– Good evening! – Greeted them with one voice.
– Comrade inspector, – he returned to the educational companions, – the order has been cancelled; they will go to Tepelena, so you better continue your journey so that you can be there tomorrow.
Helping each other again, the girls climbed into the carriage, but already sat down and rested their heads on each other as if they were stuffed sacks. The road was very difficult, so that sometimes cries of anguish could be heard in the darkness. They decided to take turns to sleep, one to hold her by the side and the other to sleep on her lap. But even those who were sleeping cried out in terror when the car fell through the potholes.
The whole night passed. Agu found them near a mining site. The car stopped and the inspector ordered them to get off. The girls didn’t wait to help each other, but, dispersing, they threw one after the other on the ground.
A group of miners came out of a barangay, who with those dirty clothes and cornrows with “eyes” on their foreheads looked like extraterrestrials. The girls from Vlonia were stunned for a moment, but when they looked at each other, which had become worse than the miners, they gathered themselves and started after the inspector and the one from the Security, who were directed from the bar.
The aroma of mountain tea teased their nostrils, the only pleasant sensation in this workers’ yard.
– We will have breakfast here, – said the companions, – then we will go to the city, where the friends of the Party and the Education Section are waiting for us.
– Oh thanks, I died to eat! – Myzua said.
– The party will kill us, not the horse, if it’s not your fault; it’s your origin… – returned the one from Sigurimi fiercely.
– Yes… – she wanted to object, but she felt the squeeze of her arm by the Jewel and stopped speaking. They all went to the tap, washed their hands and eyes, wiped their clothes as best they could and entered the workers’ bar.
The girls hungrily ate the most delicious food they had ever tasted, as if they had never had a tea and cheese breakfast.
– We will leave, – said the one from Sigurimi, – we must be correct with the schedule.
– Of course! – The instructor affirmed and they left.
After they took their seats, the chief inspector of the Education Section of Tepelena took out a sheet and called the names of the girls, as if they were in the school hall. When he reached Myzejen’s name, he stood and looked at it intently and circled the number 5. Then he called the other names, looking at them from head to toe, as if he was waiting for a costume, and when he reached the Jewel, he moved his eyes up and down several times and finally, he stared into her eyes, so long that she he felt bad and sat down and the color of the poppy fell on his face.
The inspector also circled her name and spoke.
– According to the orientations of the Party in the district and your desire to serve wherever the Motherland needs, we have thought of dividing you into villages two by two, where you will become leaders of youth education groups with a Marxist-Leninist spirit, fight with fire the backward customs and religious superstitions. You will be the first to jump on the attack to root out anything that goes against the communist ideology. And he read the names two by two in the five deepest villages of Tepelena, but none of them had any idea where they came from and how they would get there. The eleventh was Xhevairja. He confronted the girl once more and spoke:
– The last one, either laugh or cry, but luck has shined on you, that we have an empty place in the gymnasium and we will keep it here in the city, – he said and stared at her again.
Xhevairja, who, like all her friends, had cut off her long braid, and the yellow curls were scattered over her forehead, neck, shoulder, and in harmony with her deep eyes and white face, created a playful and very attractive portrait of a girl. , contrary to its strong labe character.
– You, the girls who received the appointment in the villages, can now go. Of course, you can do part of the road by car, but most of it you will climb on foot, while you, my friend Xhevahire, will settle in a room in the building in front of the section, where a midwife currently lives. I believe that room will be enough for them.
– Let’s go, then, – he said and turned to his companions, – your work ends here and shook hands.
– Everyone got up and went out, while he called Xhevahira to stay, that he would accompany him to the room.
She threw herself around her friends and sobbed. It seemed to her that she was the most miserable because she was in the city, that she would not have any friends.
– Sit down for a while to organize some documents, – he said and pretended to arrange the table and at the same time started to ask him:
– Do you have any communists in your family?
– No… my father is disabled. We are very children…!
– Don’t worry, I will help with everything, but you also have to respect and listen to me.
– Thank you…!
They came out and a few meters away were the palace. They went upstairs and knocked, but instead of the room door being opened, the neighbor, a middle-aged woman, came out.
– Who are you looking for friend…?!
– This friend came from Vlora and will stay here with the midwife.
– She has gone to work, but let her come and stay with me until she comes.
– Since you came from far away, rest today and tomorrow morning, you will come to my office and I will present to the school…!
We are often surprised by the surprises of life and rejoice at fate, but it would be luckier to try fate yourself in the midst of difficulties, than to owe someone your whole life for the kindness that he gives you. Favors can never be done without premeditation. Life is exploration, but when you fall right into a position where you don’t need exploration to find the best you can by scrambling with your hands and nails and when you succeed, you feel that legitimate satisfaction that you don’t give. no free service of anyone.
Anyway, let’s say that Xhevairja was really lucky, when she thinks about her friends, where she would have breakfast and dinner in the villages, that after they finished the lesson, they would lead the education groups and so the day theirs was school, village, meeting… through mud, rain and snow…!
She was even luckier for the neighbor, who had two wonderful children and during their conversation, she told him that she was pregnant with twins. The days passed and Xhevairja really felt lucky to be in the city, that in a seminar that was held to give guidelines on how to act in the action “For the eradication of backward customs and religious superstitions”, she met her friends and what they said for the difficulties and terrible living conditions in these villages, he felt lucky. Even the neighbor, who hosted her that day, treated her as if she were her mother.
Her husband was an instructor in the district Youth Committee, an extremely kind and generous man. While talking with his wife one night, he told her that Xevaire should be engaged to his brother, who lived with his parents in the next neighborhood, but they didn’t dare to tell him anything, so they were waiting for the right moment. Even the son happened to be there, when Xhevairja came to visit, that almost every afternoon she, together with the midwife, went and drank coffee with the neighbors.
One afternoon, while they were drinking coffee, Besimi said to Xhevaire:
– A cadre is required in the Youth Committee who would be in charge of leading the youth organizations in the district for the great action against backward customs and religious superstitions; I will discuss it once with the Party comrades, so that you can come, because they told me that you are a very good organizer.
– Whatever the Party wants, Comrade Besim, I am ready to serve it anywhere.
A few days had passed and Besimi didn’t mention the job change, but what surprised Xhevahiren was that the chief inspector came to her school and inspected her together with the school director.
It was the first time she had come under control from the Section and she really felt a bit excited. He had done the diary in order every day. She had extremely beautiful handwriting and during the inspection the inspector was really impressed. The lesson ended and the inspector said to him:
– I don’t have time to analyze the lesson, but come to the office after class…!
– Good, – she spoke in a low voice, looking at the school director.
– Yes, you should go, – he said, – because I have no right to do the analysis when one of the education sections is in control… yes, don’t worry, you did very well…!
Jewel left the school and made her way to the inspector’s office. He was a man in his forties, married with two children, but the Jewel knew nothing about him. Since the day he had arrived, he had met him two or three times on the street and had only greeted him without stopping to meet him, while he had not even returned the greeting, saying that he had never seen him.
He knocked, but no one answered. He knocked again and the door half opened and a voice said, “Come in.”
The jewel returned to the rib and was inserted. Behind her she felt the door being locked. Instinctively she turned to leave, but his gaze stopped her, telling her they would be over soon. How to do it? Yes, what would he do? She owed him the job opportunity, so she kept quiet, but never once did she raise her head to look him straight.
– Take out the pad and write down the remarks…!
– Yes, – she spoke like a frightened bird.
– Don’t think that you are a lady to teach in high school, but the opportunity I gave you must be justified…!
– I have tried to justify it with work. Even the director was satisfied…!
– You had a beautiful writing, just like you yourself…!
– Why don’t you raise your head, – he said getting up from the chair and took her by the chin and lifted her up until their eyes met.
Two pairs of eyes: one pair wild like a hungry wolf and one pair like a frightened lamb. She didn’t understand what was happening, but that something unbearable was brewing, so she got up from the corral and headed for the door.
– I have to go, inspector friend…!
– Today I will let you go, but if you don’t come to hang out with me, when I come next time, know that you have to end up beyond friends.
– Please open the door, because I was late, worries the roommate.
He got up and turned the key slowly, and as the Jewel was coming out, he took her by the arm and said:
– I liked you as soon as I saw you that day. I gave you a chance… takes it one day.
She answered quietly. The minutes seemed like centuries. That turn of the key seemed to lock him in the cell. Finally the door opened and it felt free. She ran to her room, but her friend still hadn’t come, so she knocked on the neighbor. He wanted someone to confess to. And who to trust? She was still that Pedagogical girl, whose soul was white, without traces of pain, virgin like her. The shock was great and there was no way to escape the eyes of the neighbor.
– Xhevo, is you in trouble?
– No, why are you asking me?
– How do you look to me today…?!
– I’m a little tired, because I had control from the Education Section…!
– Which one was it?
– The chief inspector.
– They don’t show him as a good man…
– He put out the pine…!
– How can I understand this…?!
– He has everything in hand, he decides on everything in the Education Section… They say he even uses the teachers…! Memorie.al
The next issue follows