Something That Must Happen

Articol publicat in:English | Aparut in:Nr. 21 ( februarie, 2012 )

That is what the elders believed and the others were certain that they were right. They climbed on the ramparts of the walled city and looked at the horizon toward the red desert; they listened to the shrill shriek of the birds and each one whispered as if just for himself: something must happen—.

People were born and passed away, attended schools and gathered skills, sung at weddings and wailed at burials. Sometimes they held their breath, listened to the unclear rumble of the desert and seemed to remember about something. Then they returned to their business, whatever it might have been.

Revolts started: they killed each other and among themselves for things and ideas that later they almost forgot. They took down statues and raised others instead. They invented machines that were supposed to make their lives easier, but afterwards they were forced to recognize that this was not at all the case. Some of these machines were left to rust in sheds; others were kept simply in order to remember those who had conceived them. Only birth, love and death were left. And the red desert beyond the walls. No one was going and no one was coming. There was no place to go to and there was no one who could come.

Some wrote books which the others read, and which made them thoughtful. They were stories about what has been, what it is, or what it will be. But that which has been only the elder knew, and by now they had become dust scattered by the rough hand of the wind. They struggled in vain to discover that which is already, and that which was to follow turned out to be always different than what they believed. Books were forgotten as well, they would yellow on the shelves and they too turned to dust. And people kept telling themselves that something must happen—.

Sometimes, very rarely, a small cloud of dust rose on the horizon, like the one made by the hooves of a horse or the wheels of a truck, or the blades of a helicopter. They climbed the walls again and looked; they raised pyres, the smoke of which would guide the eventual travelers, and sent out scouts who dared to go beyond the walls and who never returned.

Afterwards, the clouds scattered, and only the burning line of the horizon was left, strong and shiny like a knife’s blade on the cracked, lifeless earth. Only the past was left and it struggled to spit out the future as if it was a bite stuck in the throat of a gourmand table companion. Time was the trap that a hunter laid over a poor bird with no chance of escape.

They had good kings and bad kings, wise men and cruel and unjust men, and then everything would be forgotten – the blue or purplish or orange sky never changed; it remained above them like a memory that one cannot get rid of, like a tune that one hums involuntarily and without liking it. It reminded them constantly that they were down below, surrounded by walls that were not sure to defend them from something or definitely separate them from something else.

They kept asking themselves the same questions and no one gave them answers. That is why, they said, something must happen—.

Sometimes, a small group of people decided to change the order of things, an order which for others was normal and natural. But those from the small group spoke beautifully; they had shiny eyes, believed in what they said, and then they were able to convince even the skeptics. Or they would force them, as the case may be. Constantly, on these occasions, new prisons were built and filled immediately with men and women who were unclear as to why they ended up there. Old buildings were taken down. Not only people were imprisoned, but also books. The streets would fill with people who spoke loudly, then, not long after, they would all start whispering. Years passed by. The people with shiny eyes would forget what they had wished for and where they had started to go to and did not believe anymore in what they were saying. New prisons were raised and the old ones were taken down.

Time laughed like a thief from the sky up high, purplish and blue and orange, the winds whistled through the red desert that no one had ever crossed, people climbed on top of the walls, squinted their eyes while looking at the dusty horizon and said, even though almost no one believed that that is how it would be, that something must happen—.

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