miércoles, 10 de septiembre de 2014

To Heal and Live

 * This piece of writing is dedicated to all young men and women that have died because of the narrow and hateful minds of others. Love and peace.

  We were never the kind to dwell on anything. It was simple really: we were officially not wanted anywhere in the world. It wasn't surprising or confusing, just a bit painful.

People in general didn't care. That had enough with the war ravaging life here and there. Human rights were not really on the top of the list of things people cared any more. They just wanted to live in peace, like before. We did too and that's how we decided to leave.

Eric had learned that Iceland was a safe haven for many people and was being overlooked. This wasn't World War II, planes didn't need to stop in the middle of the ocean as they could easily do the trip.
Besides, Iceland had signed a pact with the Confederation: they wouldn't mess with them as long as they didn't mess with Iceland. Fair enough. The Confederation wasn't really interested in them, at least not yet, as they had bigger fish to capture.

The day Eric got with the news of our future journey on the Aurora, a freight boat bound for Canada, it didn't came up as a surprise when we the news broadcasted live the invasion of West Africa by the Confederation. Horrible images of gruesome deaths and bombing were broadcasted daily and, as the country had surrendered to the confederation, they had to show it all, no editing.

We gathered the few possessions we still had, put them on one big suitcase and hugged goodbye our families. It was clear that it might be the last time we saw them, so we were sure to say it loud one last time, in case they died or we died. That was the reality of things.

For one whole day we hitchhiked to the coast. Many men and women were heading there: they thought that there was still a chance to head out of the country as the Confederation hadn't invaded yet. The government, strangely, didn't care or was sure no one would be successful. No one really knew.

I said goodbye to my city too. Bombings and rioting had left the mountains hollow at some points. It had always being a rather grayish city but now that gloomy ambiance was permanent and real.

The rest of the journey was easy: several days on the Aurora, helping the sailors and becoming sailors ourselves. We worked hard, helping with everything but we knew nothing of the sea. We didn't feel relieved when we got to Saint John: we had learned to loved the sea in just those few days and we felt the ocean might be the perfect getaway from the crumbling world around us.

But we had to go on. We were careful as the Confederation had been in control of the territory for quite some time but they still permitted life to go on as normal as it could. For three days, we avoided contact with anyone, hiding in almost destroyed buildings or in the surrounding wilderness. Finally, one night, we entered an oil tanker bound for Reykjavik and prayed for the boat to sail soon.

And it did. They discovered us but we begged for them to let us go as soon as we got to the mainland. Of course, we had to make an agreement: we were slaved for the duration of the journey. Everything from kitchen duties, to moping floors and cleaning bathrooms. I cried every night, wishing all would end. Eric couldn't infuse me with positivism as he felt exactly the same.

We we got to Iceland, we realized the journey wasn't over. The capital was filled with confederates and we needed to avoid them at all costs.

The truth is that we were part of the resistance, the one that existence for just a few weeks before the invasion of our country and the signature of the annexation treaty. A puppet president, a former president to be exact, was established and we became something less than a colony. Eric and I met for the first time after I had put a bomb on an official's car. He saved me from being arrested and I thank him for that up to this day.

We offered our work as fishermen and soon we had steady jobs, fishing herring of the coast. Our boss was a fat oppressive man, but he was fair nevertheless. He never missed a payment and even let us live on one of the boats.

Two months after arriving in Iceland, we were sent to Akureyri, a small port in the north coast. We sailed alone, the two of us in our boss's boat. I think that was when I really fell in love with Eric. The beautiful scenery, the relative calm and the fact that we could finally be open without anyone looking, pointing or eavesdropping, were all ingredients for it.

But life was a bitch with us, with all the letters. In Akureyri we met with the boss's son, who wanted us to fish in some dangerous places. We were obliged to do it as we had no papers and, officially, immigrants were banned. So we did it, we had to use explosives for fishing and I almost blew a hand off when using one.

It all ended one night, after we had arrived from our fishing trip. We were exhausted and in need of food. We didn't had much money so we shared a plate of herring and a beer. And then, again, the looks came back. It was like being in our country all over again. We finished fast and left the place.
A group of men followed us, surrounded us and beat the crap out of us, with a metal pipe and their arms and legs.

We thought that they were going to leave us there, in a dim lit street, but they decided to put us on one of their cars and rode for more than an our. I was on the edge of fainting but couldn't. Eric did faint but he was woken up when they got us out the car, by the road and the started again. They spitted us at the end and one of them peed on our heads. They laughed and threatened us and then they left. I finally fainted, wishing I was dead once again. I thought that if needed, I would kill myself if I woke up.

Sure enough, we didn't died. I woke up to a sniffing and licking dog. He was a shepherd dog. I recognized it as my grandfather had one when I was little. I could only open my eyes a bit but not talk or stand. I couldn't see Eric and I thought of his death. And I cried, with horrible pain all over.

So it happens, the dog's name was Odin, as the norse god. And his owners were farmers. They owned sheep in a small farm near Lake Logurinn. I have no idea how these two elderly people could do it but hey put both of us on the back of their car, alongside bags of manure and dog food. I fainted and had a an awful dream, of the beating and Eric dying. It seemed to go on forever until I woke up.

It was a beautiful little house, made of wood, as if it had been taken out of a fairytale. The room was small, only big enough for a double size bed and a furnishing with some drawers. After I had overcome the pain of my injuries, I noticed Eric sleeping besides me. He wasn't dead. I hugged him, hard, not caring for our physical pain. Him being there was everything.

We recovered slowly but steadily. Antonia and Carl told us we reminded them of their two sons that had left the country to fight the Confederation in Canada, some years ago. They decided to pick us up and help us as they thought of our parents.
We told them our story, nothing edited out of it and they offered us their home and kindness. They lived on the cotton they could sell and asked us for help so we learned the craft and in a few months we became farmers.

It was painful but, in order to fit in completely, I had to change my name. I became Johannes. Eric's name was just perfect, as he was after all that happened. Often alone on the hills and fields, we could really fall in love with each other. sharing every single part of our lives. And we were fine with it. Only taking his hand made me feel safe, even if this place seemed to have been forgotten by the world. The Confederation never came here, we were told by our friends, they only cared for resources and the vicinity was deprived of minerals or anything they would care to steal.

A year after our arrival in the country we were able to build a small house near our friends home. We did it ourselves with stones and wood. I think that helped us regain some trust in ourselves and makes us heal psychologically.

And that was our life. For five years, before the Big Battle, we were happy and everything was perfect. It wouldn't last forever but that wasn't important: we were given time with each other and to heal and I have always being grateful for that.

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