Thursday, October 10, 2019

Of bricks and wars

Stories and News No. 1176
 
It's war. That is, there is war, because we are talking about it again.
But this does not mean that there was not already here.
Because peace has a price, so the silence of newspapers and parliaments all over the world. And, sorry, it is still called war too.
So let's go away, but only to come back soon, I promise.
Perhaps with a lighter heart, though filled to the brim, and less closed eyes.
Once upon a time, therefore, two children. Because that is what we are dealing with. An eternal and tireless child's play, but with very serious rules and often tragic consequences.
It is a particular pastime, though, since time insists to stop it, rather than facilitating its run, ending up trapping the hands of the human watch by doing the same with the wings we could open, if only we had believed Icarus's dream.
Anyway it is a brick game. Of cement, clay or plastic it makes no difference, although the latter has the further contraindication of pollution.
The very young challengers, just as ambitious and naive, have two perfectly contrasting roles.
We could call them in a lot of ways, but I hope ‘you’ and ‘I’ will make things easier and more understandable to most people. Well, it should be the first rule of a good storyteller.

In any case, this ancient entertainment begins according to the script.
You put two bricks between us, I distract you with a nice grimace and take one out.
You notice the shortcoming and add three more with an aggressive and peremptory gesture.
I stretch myself and then I start the characteristic dance of the convulsive forehead, an art conceived by the semi-unknown tribe of thought-harrowing thinkers.
You raise your head for a second and I take this opportunity to remove at least a couple of bricks.
Then I get a cramp on my imagination and I fall to the ground. You laugh at me and, at the same time, you guide your gaze on the playing field.
You count the bricks that are missing, you rant and threateningly put your hand to your stocks; then you place six bricks on the line that separates us.
"Wall!" You exclaim. "There is a wall between us."
"I see it," I note. "There is a wall and it was there before."
Exactly like the war of this short story’s incipit.
However, I do not desist. I can’t, I don't have to.
We cannot and we must not.
Because we are the only ones left there, on the most vulnerable side of the border.
So, I catch my breath, gather my strength and, above all, look for the courage inside of me.
But where did I put it? Oops, here it is, I see it there, hidden under noise and solitude.
Two other bricks, in some ways, very heavy, although elusive.
Courage, on the other hand, as opposed to what is told, is subtle and delicate.
The real one, I mean, is just a page, a trivial sheet of paper with some words of great value.
They describe one of the simplest and least respected memories. It regards what life is worth fighting for. They are few and could stay in the palm of your hand. Or a page, exactly like this one.
Therefore, once I recover the precious ingredient, I clear my voice and I sing. Yes, I sing at the top of my voice as long as the vocal tails will hold. And you, my friend, you can't help but listen to my tattered but passionate warblers.
Because what I'm trying to intone is not just my song, but ours. It is the soundtrack of the meeting that brings us one in front of the other, every day, from the very first one, until today.
It is the hymn of a victory and a defeat, of one or the other, at its worst.
At its best, it is when you decide to combine your voice with mine, even if only to show you are a better singer than me. And I am also willing to give you that, if it means peace.
We could be everything, we could discover all.
We could even grow and finally become adults.
If only we stopped wasting our time with this dull game.
Of bricks and wars...


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