2023-09-10 09:58:00, Opinione Agim Xhafka
Illustrative photo

In the square, when I was waiting for the green light, someone "tapped" me on the shoulder. I turn around and see a white-haired woman, with a face full of wrinkles and eyes like those of a tired dog. I was not familiar with it. The brain did not react, but it took a spark.

Hope, I was given the signal. My high school friend, 50 years without seeing each other. While she was putting a mask on her face, the traffic light helped me run away from her.

I gave my legs as if the flames of a great fire were following me. I did not turn my head for a quarter of an hour. Just walk and walk and walk. Until I got tired and entered Conadi for relaxation, not for shopping. I saw that the anger for Hope was so intense in me that after 50 years it has not faded at all, neither at the corners nor at the sides.

And when I think she was my best friend. Inwardly I admitted that I loved him. My body trembled when he hugged me, when he held my hand, when he caressed my curls. Or when she spoke some secret close to my ear, her breath almost knocked me over.

Maybe she loved me too, but it was tradition for me to make the first move. I didn't lack courage, because Hope was the only daughter of the head of the city. He was born in Tirana, he was not even four years old in Korça. Once when I told my mother she laughed.

-Who knows what bridegrooms have targeted them. Why will they leave the girl in Korça! - she told me.

These words were like that hospital beam that was raised only for ambulances. Meanwhile, we continued to stay together. I also went to Shpresa's house a lot. But that's it. I felt good though. And as a friend, she made me spend the day happily, with excitement.

The fight started on a Monday. At the weekend, the class went on an excursion to Dardha. It was winter, but not with much snow. We went up to the village from the Biglla pass. Walking through that forest, the snow mixed with the green of the fir trees and the gray of the mountain amazed me.

Add the joy of age and toys until dawn made me quickly write a poetic sketch. Sunday at dinner I saw it and once again, I made it as smooth as my father's shoes when he polished them with that piece of velvet that hid it so that we children didn't use it on muddy sneakers. On Monday, I was waiting for Hope at the school door.

- Read it and if you like it, give it to your father to publish it in the city newspaper! - I told him.

- No worries, he said and grabbed my hand.

He almost dragged me to class. That day I was almost completely exhausted. I was thinking about writing in the newspaper, the praise from teacher Rizai, the happiness of my mother, my father would cut that page with scissors and carry it with him in the inside pocket of his jacket.

So until the end of the sixth hour. Then everyone left, not me. I was desperate for putting out the fire in the stove. I was getting ready to extinguish the burnt embers with the can of water when I saw pieces of paper with my writing on the side. I took them out with a mass and the blood became poison, I felt bitterness in my mouth. It was the sketch I gave to Hope. In one corner it read "that in Dar".

That's how I gave the title, "A night in Dardha" I collected them like a mother used to collect bread crumbs and after kissing them, she dropped them on a small plate and took them out to the birds at the window. I squeezed them tightly in my hand and slipped them into the pocket of my beige overalls.

Drejt shtëpisë ika thuajse me zvarritje,kaq ngadalë i hiqja këmbët. Nuk kuptoja pse ndodhi kështu. Pyesja veten dhe gjithmonë jepja pérgjigje me shumë pikëçuditëse në fund. U gdhiva si një dre i plagosur. Por e kisha vendosur që asaj femre,tani e tutje as emrin nuk do i pérmendja,nuk do i flisja. Deri sa të vdisja,u betova.

Shkova herët në klasë dhe papritur mu te fytyra m’u ngulit surrati i saj.

-Babai e pëlqeu shumë skicën tënde!- bértiti ajo që ta dëgjonin të gjithë.

Klasa nisi duartrokitjet. Unë e kapa tek një komçë e pardesysë së saj,e térhoqa nga vetja dhe gati ia futa në sy coprat e djegura që nxora nga xhepi. U tremb në fillim,pastaj u çudit e në fund u skuq. E lëshova dhe qysh atë çast nuk ia pashë më sytë.

As luck would have it, his father took him to another gymnasium that was closer to home. Then, years later, I learned that she married an architect in Tirana, got divorced months later because her father was put in prison as an enemy and a spy, and since then I heard nothing but bad about her. I wasn't happy, but I didn't feel pain either. It felt like he was atoning for me.

I left Conadi, but I went back in because someone out there is a fan of me as Hope. Get out, I told myself. Life is full of such people. Avoid them from your path. You walk forward as if they are invisible to you. I'm only sorry for Dardha. I haven't set foot there since then. Yes, the village, Gimo, is not to blame, I say to myself. If you're craving mom's pie, you'll find it there anyway. Go, go as soon as possible, man!/ CNA

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