By Makensen Bungo
-Dedicated to my childhood friend, Nazmi Fagu, whom the dictatorship sentenced to life imprisonment, at the very young age of 24-.
Memorie.al / when the doctor told her the diagnosis of the disease, she was worried, but did not give herself up. She did not tell anyone about her illness, not even her daughter. He didn’t want to worry anyone, so he locked it in his closet. Although sick, she continued as before, visiting her cousins and relatives, as well as the work friends she had before retiring. Even at his daughter’s, he continued to go as before, often staying two or three nights there, to sleep. When the day came to meet the boy in prison, she went as usual without giving herself away, like she was sick. The boy had been arrested for some allegedly decadent poems, which they had found in a notebook of his, and immediately sentenced to several years in prison and forced labor.
When he met her, he did not tell her anything about her illness. Only at the end of the meeting, as if nothing had happened, he said to his son: “Listen, son, your mother is old now and her strength and health are leaving her little by little. Maybe I won’t come to you from now on like I did before, but don’t be upset, don’t worry about me. I will tell my sister, Bali, to come to my country, maybe even more often, like the mother’s soul”. The son immediately suspected something bad, looked at her carefully and asked: “Mother, don’t be sick, please tell me the truth”?!
“No,” she answered immediately. – Do not think that I have nothing, only that I am tired, age, troubles, you know. Then I won’t give up my soul until you get out of prison, I’ll keep the desert between my teeth, until we eat the wedding and see you with the bride”, – he put his lips on gas, to remove his worry and son’s concern.
When the meeting ended, they couldn’t be separated like forever. He just moved away a little, sighed deeply, looking from behind from time to time at his mother who was tired and left incomprehensibly. While she, as much as she didn’t want to show herself in the eyes of those boys who escorted her to the exit door, she took out her handkerchief and wiped the tears that flowed down her soft and puffy cheeks, as the only consolation she had left.
Thus, weeks and months passed in silence, closed to oneself. But later, the disease slowly reared its head. First, his appetite was cut and he started to get weak. He lost his strength and the pains were bothering him more and more. So he couldn’t hide his illness like before. He could no longer visit his relatives or his daughter, but he locked himself in the house and took to his bed unwillingly. Death was approaching him stealthily and silently, burdened the most with worry for his son.
It was not difficult for her to understand this, because she was told day and night by the pain, insomnia and weakness that had burdened her in bed. Now her daughter, relatives, work friends and neighbors increased their visits so that they could be as close as possible in those moments before death. The daughter eventually stayed in her house where no one was left but her, because her husband had died years ago.
Day after day he got heavier and the moment came when he could not feed himself, except to wet his mouth a little with water. Until she couldn’t even lift her head from the bed, but her daughter wet her chapped lips with a wet cloth from time to time. He fell into a bracket and the disease finally hid his mouth, he could no longer speak, only that he held in the tongs of life, the feelings on his face that faded more and more every day.
She was already in the bed of death without alienation, which stopped her involuntary moans and sometimes – sometimes sinful. Relatives and friends who visited her only kept silent and prayed for her release from suffering. They felt the bridge that was crumbling; it was separating life from death. It was painful, unwanted, but heartwarming, human that their loved one was slowly fading away, just like everyone else in this world.
Just as stealthily, silently as death can approach, her happy day came, the day of farewell, with the last moments and moments. Her relatives and friends, who had gathered to bid her farewell, tearfully investigated the shadow of death that swirled around her. But worry also has the power to weaken death for a moment. So a muscle in his face moved a little and his body trembled slightly. Those who were nearby were surprised, but one of the women whispered: Now you are giving up!
After a while she opened her eyes. Some of the women looked at each other, some moved from their places in surprise. The woman who whispered a moment ago, said as if confused: “What about this, which has not happened before”?!
The mother opened her eyes with difficulty. Without moving, he looked at the women in a row, the cousins, the friends who were there, he stared at his daughter’s eyes and tried to say something, but he couldn’t. The women huddled in profound silence, all wonder and compassion following the efforts of a mother to express her last dying will. And while dozens of questions pricked him; why did he open his eyes? Why did you look at them in turn?
Who was he looking for? Didn’t want something and they didn’t understand? Or did he have something to say? Any orders or deposits? She opened her eyes again and looked at them in turn. Then with difficulty, with a lot of effort, he opened his mouth slowly as a pomegranate splits open and with a broken voice that seemed to come out of a deep cavity, could hardly be pronounced, he asked: “My son, where is my son”?!
All of them looked at each other in astonishment. The barbell. It seemed incredible but also surprising. Who could answer and how, what did they say? When her son was sent to prison, in Spaç. He was used as a slave by the dictatorship extracting ore from the deadly pits of the ominous mine. That he had lost his youth only because he had written beautiful, varied poems, different from the template of the dictatorship.
But didn’t she know that? Where was her son now? Had he forgotten? Or was he in parentheses and rambling?
She waited a few moments for an answer. But no one spoke and there was no way. Silence had gripped them as a wall grips stones.
But it was the mother who broke the silence and stuttered: “I love my son”! The daughter approached her and called painfully: “Mother”! She downloaded the power of vision to her daughter’s tearful eyes and said the words with difficulty: “I love Nazmi, my son! I want to see it again! Touch him once more, kiss his eyes! Do you listen to me, understand me”?! The daughter lowered her head in silence.
The mother looked around and, when she didn’t see anything she expected, she looked at the door of the room. She was closed, but she didn’t take her eyes off of him. Maybe the boy was waiting to come from there, the light of his eyes, the only one who had been robbed and exiled in the sloughs of the infamous Spachi mine. He wanted to see her for the last time, as a mother wants to see the part of her soul, in the last moments of life.
One of the women, the older one, ordered: “Open the door”!
As soon as the door opened, the mother’s face smiled, her eyes lit up strangely, she gave strength to her body to raise her shoulders, but it was impossible. He moved just a little bit the raw gums on his cheek, took a deep breath and slowly wiped his eyes. Everyone silently waited anxiously, if this mother would give up, or if she would continue her efforts, keeping her soul between her teeth, to see and hug her son once more.
With difficulty he stared at the door, waited a few moments and stammered: “I want the boy! I love my son”! – then she turned her head slowly to the woman who was closest to her, and surprisingly sounded as if the voice came out of a horn: “Bring the boy! My son, my son…”! The woman lowered her head and sighed. Could she grant him this wish? She was a mother herself; she knew very well what she was looking for.
But could she tear the communist beasts out of their hands and bring them to her? This was impossible, so he bit his lips slowly and sobbed to himself. Another woman sighed and said: – “What are our eyes seeing and what are our ears hearing, in this time of chaos”! The others looked each other in the eye, but silently agreed.
The mother groaned a little and called her daughter, with a pleading voice that rolled down along with two drops of tears that remained in the light wrinkles of the cheekbones on the cheeks, and pleaded:- “Why don’t you bring me Nazmi?! Sillma brothers! Shake what you are waiting for! “Bring me and hug him once again”!
The daughter sobbed, kissed her mother on the forehead, on the eyes, on the cheek, slowly wiped away the tears that glistened in her eyes and whispered: “We are waiting for you, mother, we are waiting for you! And consoling each other, they cried in silence. Along with those two, some of the women also started to cry. While one said: “How much this desert is suffering tonight, as if the church and mosque had been destroyed”!
The mother, again through tears, whispered slowly: “Son…! I love the boy! Bring me the boy”! One of the women, who were next door to him, got up and without saying a word, went to her house and took her son. He was the same age as the son of that mother who was suffering, and without realizing it he took him into her room.
They slowly lifted him half up, put the boy in front of him and said: “Here, the boy has come”! Then they all waited anxiously. Would she believe this lie and give you peace of mind, or would she sink even worse into her bitter soul?! But she didn’t lie. After looking at him for a moment with his eyes half closed, he sighed and said: “No, this is not my son; this is Ladi who brought me plums!”
I love my son! I love my Nazmi”! Again the women lowered their heads dejectedly. Although her son had been in prison for years, and she herself was bedridden for many years and did not have the opportunity to go and see him, but even in those moments, she had not forgotten his face!
That painful and suffering face he had seen for the last time. Even in his absence, she had lived with him, with his memories, his photographs, with the conversations, troubles and antics they had had. With the scent still lingering on his clothes. He took his daughter’s hand, tried to squeeze it as hard as he could, looked at the women around him with pain, sighed, stared at the ceiling and stammered: “I love the boy…! The boy…! My heart…”!
These were the last words. He let out a long sigh and stopped. It stopped forever. It ended with the name of her son, who was being sent to the prison of hell, completely innocent. The daughter trembled and jumped on her sobbing: – “Mother! Mother! Don’t leave us like this”! As the women began to mourn in silence.
Some made the cross and some whispered a prayer, while the older woman lamenting said: – “Eh, evil time! A mother without a son and a son without a mother”! Then he added: – “Be damned, monster! May you be cursed for life of lives”! After a few days, the daughter went to Spaç to meet her brother. He also told them about the death of their mother.
He was expecting it. He sighed and asked briefly: “When”?! “On the seventh of April”, she barely stammered, her head down. – He sighed again and stammered: – “I saw it in a dream. As if he was walking through the clouds, with a staff in his hand and a burden full of suffering on his arm. – “That’s how it was”! – She stammered. – “Suffered a lot”?! – “I gave my soul, with your name in my mouth”!-
“Eh, mother, mother…”! – he sobbed. – “Even we who are dead are alive forever, sister, but one day will come when they will pay us, be brave! It will rain one day for justice to sprout! Trust me, sister, trust me! God has not forgotten us”! Brother and sister hugged each other, longingly and painfully. Memorie.al