Happiness

While watching the mixture of colours that painted the sky, I reminded of the passage of a book I had read some time ago. I didn’t exactly remember the words the author had used, but he described the magic of being happy and being able to see it.
It rarely happens if you think about it.
Unhappiness or wrong time is more and more outrageous than a good time.
In those moments, I realized that I could never forget that period.
That was one of those days when you prayed that they might last for eternity.
It was still a matter of minutes before people finished their working day and clogged the streets.
It seemed that the little nature still present in the city was enjoying its last breath, before witnessing the usual race of human beings.
It was still winter according to the calendar, but the heat of the sun’s rays gave the feeling that spring wanted to start its course earlier.
Everything seemed to be dressed in the indescribable colour of the sky, a pinkish-orange that left you breathless.
There was no doubt that it would have been a perfect sunset.
I went out for a walk after a warm and endless regenerating shower. I used to feel the chills of cold when I went out at that time, especially after washing. But that day was divine. The light spring jacket proved to be the right choice. I walked without a real destination, letting myself be hit by the sun’s rays and trying to enjoy the sounds of what was around me. Children crying, birds chirping, and the breeze caressing my hair.

The best thing to do was to find a view from the top of the city. I wanted to be in the highest possible place to enjoy the goodbye of the sun and the arrival of darkness.
I was delighted at that time, and the funny thing is that there was no specific reason. For years, as I think everyone, I had mistakenly connected happiness to a goal, to a person or always to something.
That was definitely the happiest period of my life, even though I was far from all that was most dear to me. Yet I didn’t care about anything or anyone anymore. For the first time, I liked the person I was looking at in the mirror.
It was inexplicable happiness that no one could have understood. I didn’t waste time trying to share it. I remembered Oscar Wilde’s words, he wrote that when he liked someone, he didn’t reveal her/his name out because of jealousy.
I did the same with that part of my life, I didn’t show it to anyone and tried to enjoy it until the last drop.
I remember one detail of those moments, I always looked up.
I stared at the sky and tried to touch the stars.
I was happy, and everything seemed to be possible.

Gezim Qadraku

 

Annunci

Direction nowhere

First days of May, but looking at people’s clothing it seems like late autumn. You can still see scarves and woolen hats.
Today is an odious day. Unceasing rain and biting wind. The classic to spend in the living room under the blankets, eating until you can’t eat any more while watching some useless program on television.

Instead, I am in this small village in southern Germany. I arrived a couple of minutes ago and the next train is in an exact hour. I have a tour of circumspection and I realize that the station is equipped only with a library and a bar. That’s all.

I enter the bar and order an espresso. The waiter asks me if I want to drink it “at the window“. That would be the series of tables arranged with a view to the outside, the parking of the station, or in a more secluded area at the bottom of the room.

I opt for “the window“. I don’t want to miss such a view. I take my place and observe the combination of colors of the chairs and tables. Light green and brown. I like it. It gives me the idea of a split between new and old. I sip the espresso with some fear, but I am happily surprised. It’s not bad at all. Perhaps low expectations play an important role in the judgment. I take out of my backpack the book I’m reading: “The sympathizer“, the Pulitzer Prize of 2015.

I read in a language that is not my native one and live in a country where another language is spoken. I’ve gone so far as to handle four idioms with enough ease. One never knows how many goals can reach. Between one line and the next, I let myself be distracted by the people who arrive at the station. I look up more and more often and enjoy the spectacle of everyday life. I look at people and try to guess their lives. It’s an exercise I’ve been doing since I was a child.
I created stories in my mind starting from reality because it has never been enough for me. Meanwhile, a young girl, too young, running with a stroller attracts my attention. I always wonder what motivates people to have children while they are in what is undoubtedly the best age. She enters the station and disappears in a blink of an eye.

Meanwhile, a stream of teenagers enter and leave the station like ants. I look at their faces and the way they are dressed. It reminds me of the importance I gave to the appearance when I was their age and the total disinterest I felt in school. As I resume the reading I feel a man behind me ordering something speaking in Italian. He knows the waiter. The two of them exchange a couple of jokes. I like the feeling I get when I understand someone who speaks a language other than the local one and this does not have the faintest idea that there is an unknown person around who can understand it. It gives me a feeling of power and control.

I have always needed to keep everything under control. Especially when I’m in a public place I don’t know. I keep reading while I keep my headphones, but all I really do is check the situation around me. I hear a gentleman asking the waiter where the sugar is. I have it. The cashier I assume points towards me and I hear the man moving to my direction. He touches my shoulder and, almost embarrassed, asks me if he can take the sugar. I pretend to fall from the pear tree and play the part. I am one step ahead, I have always been one step ahead. Nothing catches me unprepared. It is impossible to surprise me, I always know what happens, especially if they are people I know. People have become so predictable today that there is nothing interesting about establishing relationships. You only need to go around every social profile to have an almost perfect knowledge of an individual. And then they’re all so interested and focused on themselves. No one observes or tries to understand who is around them. They are impressed when you tell them the smallest details after a short conversation and they don’t understand how you were able to understand them so clearly. It’s so easy for me, a kind of hobby I’d say.

I keep reading, along with pauses to observe people outside.
I like it. For a moment I think I could live in the stations. That wouldn’t be a bad idea since all I need to do to work is my laptop and a Wi-Fi connection. I check the clock and I realize that forty minutes have passed. In twenty minutes I have the train. In ten minutes I get off the table.

I close the book and start to think about my next destination. A town in the south-east of Germany, on the border with Austria. A new reality, new people to know and stories to tell, at least I hope. I don’t know what I could call this period of my life.
As I get up, the words of Ghemon in the song “Voci nella testa” come to mind.
A rhyme says: “direction I don’t know well“.
I modify it, I could call this precise moment of my existence “direction nowhere“.
I don’t know where I’m going, but that’s okay.

Gezim Qadraku.

I’ll be back soon

I’m at the airport, waiting for a friend who’s coming back from London after two months of work. The speaker announces that the plane is half an hour late. Not having many options I decide to take a walk aimlessly. I wonder for a while until I reach the departure gates.
My attention is immediately captured by a child and what should be his father. I am kidnapped by the way the little one is glued to the parent. I sit on a bench and keep watching them. I can already imagine how this story will end.

After a couple of minutes, the father hugs his woman with a touching and deep gesture. They remain attached to each other for an indefinite time. When they come off, both have shiny eyes.  He is a little less, while she just can’t hold back her tears. It’s a blow to the heart to look at her, it hurts me. She tries to hide the emotion by looking up and putting on her sunglasses. She doesn’t want the child to see her like that.
The father is holding back because now comes the impossible part. He lowers himself towards his little one, caresses his hair and pulls out a forced, hard-fought smile, while he succeeds in the very complicated exercise of keeping tears inside his body. I can get a very clear idea of the power of the knot in the throat she’s trying.

He hugs him hard and the son literally clings to his body. It’s a snapshot, a flash. There should be someone – for each one of us – who takes pictures or films certain moments of our existence. That gesture should be shown in schools to explain the meaning of parent, child, family.
It is impossible to think that those two bodies could come off. It would be like asking or expecting, that a natural event stops following its course. Ask the flowers not to bloom in spring or the water of the rivers not to feed the seas. You can’t do that.
The mother is forced to do what she does not want. She pulls the baby to herself with a quick gesture, somehow trying to reduce the pain. As if that was possible.
I read the father’s lips: “I’ll be back soon”.
The child knows that he is lying to him and bursts into a roaring cry. He turns around and hugs the legs of the mother. She looks at her man, gently caresses his face and tells him to go. In my heart, selfishly, I wish myself the good fortune to find such a woman.
He looks at the little one and then turns his back on his family.

The emptiness that is created is deafening. For a moment I think the whole airport has stopped and is watching them. I don’t feel anything. I can only feel the pain of those three people that increases dramatically every second that passes.
I know this kind of stories. I’ve already heard those words. I know how that child feels. He doesn’t understand why her father is doing something as terrible as going to work somewhere far away. He feels betrayed and is not wrong. But what he doesn’t know is that his father is doing such a bad thing just for him. So that he doesn’t miss anything now that he’s small and above all, so that, in a certain way, he can secure a future when he’ll be big.
That child will understand it, he will understand all this when he is grown up. But now he doesn’t care. Now he just wants to have his father there with him to play and go and eat ice cream together.

What the father doesn’t know is that he will lose pieces of his son’s life forever. He’ll let days, months and maybe years slip by. This will last until he can take it with him or decides to return. It may happen if the period of distance is prolonged for too many years, that that son will not be able to recognize him and will go into the arms of someone else when he will be back.
He will ask his mother, “Who is this man?”.
And then that father will take all the blame in the world. He will wonder if it was worth it to make his creature suffer. To live far from his family and then to return so as not to be recognized.
What all those who left their land asked themselves at least once in their lives: “but was it really worth it?”
Yes, as if a simple human being were able to answer such a question.

I take one last look at that child and remind of the story my mother used to talk to me. The photo of the three of us, with my father holding me in his arms a few days after birth next to my mother, who I asked her to kiss before falling asleep while he was away. When he came back and I told her to make him sleep under the bed, that man.
I didn’t call him Daddy anymore. He had become “that man”. It had been a long time since he left and I was just a child. I was not to blame, neither was my father. It’s nobody’s fault actually, it’s life.
I always wondered how he felt, but I never had the courage to ask him directly.
I go outside to smoke a cigarette and I pray that no father should be forced to make such decisions.

Gezim Qadraku.