Do not ask for help

I’m six years old, and I’m in first grade.
It’s spring, almost summer now.
After school, Mom takes me to the park to play with my classmates.
I’m happy, it’s sunny and the days all seem good to me. The school will be over in a while, too, finally.
At the park we have fun on the swings, we run after the ball, and then we finish playing hide and seek. At a certain hour, however, we all have to go home, mothers are inflexible.

Daddy’s home, he just got home from work. He’s had a shower, he smells good. He’s tired, but I don’t notice it. I’m a child, I can’t see it. Mom always tells me to ask him if he’s tired. He always says no, that he’s not tired and caresses my forehead with smiling. I don’t understand why I have to ask him if he says no. I will understand it later when I’ll grow up, when I’ll try to work too, and I’ll feel tired as soon as I walk through the door. I will realize how much having someone who cares if you are tired or not, that that simple question, can drive away all the tiredness.

I took a shower, and then I sit on the couch next to Daddy. He’s got a book in his hand and his face looks confused. He’s studying for his driver’s license. I like the book. It has a lot of colourful pictures that catch my attention. Daddy’s asking me for help. He asks me what the word “roadway” means. It’s the first time I’ve heard that word. I’m six years old, I’m in the first grade, my vocabulary’s restricted. I find that word very difficult. I can’t help Dad, and I’m sorry. Then he goes and asks our neighbour. She tells him that a roadway is a road, but he doesn’t seem happy with the explanation.

I try to understand what that word means, and in the meantime, I wonder why Dad doesn’t know why he asked me for help? Why did he have to go and ask the neighbour? What about mom? Why doesn’t mom know what the roadway means either?
I’m six years old, I’m in first grade, and that word shows me that mom and dad don’t really know the language of the country we are living. I should have figured that out sooner, I guess. We speak a different language at home than people use on TV. Mom and Dad only use Italian when we’re out. Why can I speak both of them? Maybe I have superpowers.

I will spend that period of my childhood thinking that I am a superhero. That I can speak both the language of my parents and the language of my teachers, my classmates and people on television.
Dad will get his license the first time.
Growing up, I’m going to realize that for some things I can’t ask my mom and dad for help with. There are things about life in Italy they can’t help me with. I should ask my classmates or my teachers for help, but I’d be ashamed to do it because I don’t want to show myself to be different or inferior. Then I’ll end up never asking for help, for any obstacle I have to overcome. Linguistic, physical or psychological.

It will be the others who will ask me for help, who will trust my support, my knowledge. Not me, never.
I like to say that I am a guy who prefers to listen, that makes me uncomfortable asking someone for help.
To be honest, I really have no idea how it works, what needs to be done and whether it’s really worth it.
I haven’t learned how to do it yet, to ask for help.

Gezim Qadraku

I wrote a book

“You look much better, you know?
Last time you were destroyed.”
“We met here after my story with Erika was over, right?”
“Yes, exactly. Now that I think about it, it seems like an eternity has passed.
What have you been doing all this time?”
“I wrote a book.”
“Excuse me?”
“You got it right.”
“My God, that’s wonderful. And what it is about?”
“About her.
About me.
About us.
How my life could have been with her by my side.”

Gezim Qadraku

 

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

 

Which war?

There was war in Kosovo and I was in first grade.
There was war, but I didn’t know.
I never heard that word at home.
Yet our people died.
My grandfather died in those days and other relatives of mine.
My mother lost a part of herself forever.
And I didn’t notice anything.

There was war in my country and yet my life continued.
I went to school and training.
I used to play in the park with my classmates.
I used to watch cartoons, do my homework and who knows what I dreamed of becoming.
Maybe the astronaut or maybe a footballer.

There was war, but I didn’t know it.
My parents watched the news secretly.
They talked in a low voice with their relatives.
They were hiding everything from me.
They didn’t show the pain that was destroying them.

Then the war ended and we returned to Kosovo.
We entered a house I didn’t know about.
There was my grandmother, uncle, aunt, and my cousins.
My grandfather wasn’t there.
Maybe he is gone somewhere, I thought.
But then everyone began to cry and I understood.
I didn’t ask for anything because I immediately understood what had happened.
I had seen the damages the war had done after we got off the plane.
I had seen the houses destroyed by the flames, the marks of the bullets on the buildings, the streets full of holes, the faces of the people.
I was seeing the war now.
Now that it was over.

There had been war and I hadn’t noticed it.
Now that room full of people seemed to be the emptiest place that existed.
The walls were completely white and empty.
The furniture was ugly.
The people were sad.
No one laughed.
The smell of death was still there.
There had been war and it had ruined our lives, but I hadn’t noticed.

There had been war and I hadn’t seen my parents suffer.
They had hidden everything.
They had not shown the slightest pain.
Then I understood how much they loved me.
I told myself that I should have done the same with the people I loved.
I should have only shown them the happy part and never the sad part.
I should have never told them how much I was suffering.
I understood that that way I would have only made them feel bad too and I would have never forgiven myself.

There had been war and my parents had kept it all inside.
They had unwittingly taught me how to handle pain.
Crying inside.
To always show the smile.
Not asking for help.
To say that everything is fine.
There was war, but I didn’t know it.

Gezim Qadraku.

(Wikiwand Images)