Skip to main content

Never born because of the air

Stories and News No. 1297

There is a place – or rather I just like the idea that it exists, where a million children continue their journey.
We couldn't call them lives for obvious reasons, which will become clearer as the words flow through the heart, even before the overrated brain, but I think they are still worth telling. Also because the pages where people write about concrete and tangible stuff are already crowded enough, that finding space for a dream from time to time can't hurt.
I was saying, there is a place where a million children, more or less – I hope in the latter, lives… oops, just are, you know.
Like all their peers with a much better fate, they go to school and now we zoom inside a classroom of the huge palace that welcomes them all without any distinction. The desks are thrown there in confusion and the teacher's one is of the same size and so the chair. As if to say, here everyone learns from everyone, and at the end of the year in everyone's folder there are no grades, promotions or failures, but only stories and shares to keep company with on the saddest nights.
On the other hand, our callow pupils would have so much sadness to sell as to outperform every emotional market, but unlike other worlds, here things are taken with a smile, even before philosophy or mathematics.
Since it's the first day, the professor invites newcomers to introduce themselves to the place that doesn't exist, but in my all too naive imagination of course it does.
"What's your name?" says the teacher addressing a child with an impertinent face.
"My name is Oxide" replies the questioned kid.
"Specify, dear, so that those who have a conscience, as well as an ear, will understand."
"Nitrogen Oxide."
"Well done, welcome, at least here."
"And you?" continues the teacher pointing her finger at a couple of twins, a girl and a boy, with eyes suddenly revived since they have been formally invited to the scene.
“We too are Oxide” says the little girl, while her brother nods his head to reinforce the concept. “But not to confuse us with him you can call us SO2 and SO3.”
"And who am I between the two?" asks the male, still baffled on the subject.
“SO2, sulfur dioxide, right?”
“Yes, when you use the formula I get lost. And you are SO3, Sulfur trioxide.”
"Good" says the teacher. “You too are welcome, even if maybe you would have done without it.”
"Who are you?" asks the teacher to a pair of children, sitting at the same desk, of completely opposite dimensions, one of a small size and the other with, so to speak, an important tonnage.
"I am an Aromatic Hydrocarbon" says the latter with a thundering voice, despite his young age.
“Me too”, declares the other, the slimmer one. "But I'm mono."
"I’m instead polycyclic" specifies the other.
"Well done you too, dears, and welcome, although the reasons for your arrival are far from benevolent."
Below, all the others introduce themselves, from Freon, the classic nerd, who describes herself as an organic halide, to Ozone, who perhaps speaks a little too fast, but that's because he has so much to say and time is never not enough, especially when it's stolen from you altogether. So here's another pair of twins, albeit sitting far apart, but the name explains it all, as they go by the name of Free Radicals. Then there are Lead and other metals, read like the more robust children, those who play sports and you can see, or feel it if you touch the arm muscle that they never fail to let you feel. Finally, to close this bizarre appeal, there is Particulate Matter, one of those kids who will remain etched in your memory, far from trivial and never on the same page except theirs.
"Professor" he says. “We are dead, aren't we?”
An enormous silence, as thick as the wall that divides the compassion from the cynicism of humans from the arid horizon, descends on the classroom. Everyone stares at the teacher who in turn does not know what to look at if not herself, or the Dictionary of authentic words, but which do not hurt more than necessary, one of the most precious books in any universe, despite being free.
“Yes,” replies the teacher. “And the fault lies with air pollution, whose poisons have inspired your names, but it would be as stupid as it is dishonest not to rather point the finger at the real causes of the latter. However, around here we prefer to say that you are the Never born because of the air.”
"But we're safe here, aren't we?" asks Oxide worried, speaking on behalf of the others too.
"Certainly" replies the teacher. “Because this is a dream. And it's a real shame that in the real world they prefer to live in a nightmare."

Subscribe to Newsletter