Τρίτη, 1 Δεκεμβρίου 2015

WAITING FOR THAT RAIN...

     

 Everyone was down on their knees and they were crying. All the villagers were gathered in the square. They could not believe in what has started out as a whistle, like a careless knock out of a child’s hand on the windows and the terraces, as if something was eager to get in from the drapes to the rest of the house and stay there.  It had come when most of them had already forgotten about its image and sound. Still, the rain had come after a year and a half. The villagers in their nightgowns were at the square just as if it made it more official for them and it wouldn’t change its mind and go away. The church bells and the siren of the fire station banged frantically. Everyone with their hair uncombed and their eyes swollen from the sleep and the tears were down on their knees as if something deep inside them had been awakened and it was difficult to believe. 

The raindrops were fiercefully falling and they tore the sky in two with the lightings and the thunders. They fell with such force that they formed small ponds and ditches that the dry soil greedily sipped. The children danced barefoot and opened their mouths to swallow the drops. The small village, whose crops and cultivations had been destroyed, experienced an after midnight pagan feast. The forces of nature had finally shown some mercy on them. The ground would gradually give back its fruit that now only counted its wounds from thirst. 
The first one to notice was small Mario who immediately ran to tell his grandfather.  While dancing with the other kids, carried away by the excitement of the grownups, he stopped, spread his  little hands and got a closer look at the drops, something that the others had done but none of them had seen what made his eyes roll. 
“Grandpa, grandpa, look” he screamed and fell in the elderly skinny man’s arms, who almost fell on the plates of the café. “Grandpa, look. Felipe is back, I see him”, he shouted and his eyes sparkled in excitement. Felipe was the small white rabbit that they gave him the year before and the boy played with it all the time in the garden and in the field when he followed his father and grandfather to work. It only lived for three months and suddenly died. They told the boy that it ran to the forest in order not to upset him. And now he saw the rabbit in the raindrops which, no matter how hard he tried, he could not hold in his tiny hands. His grandfather put on his glasses that always kept in his pocket, and tried to figure out what the kid was saying. But it was in vain. As much as he tried, he could not see a thing, he could not make out the familiar figure of the small animal. But even the rest of the people at the café, who some had more vivid vision, did not see a thing. The boy got disappointed and returned to the other children and showed them. And then, they saw it. Each one saw not Felipe but someone or something   they had lost, grandpa, grandma, their mother or father, even a small dog or cat or a favorite toy. Each child saw in the raindrops that fell the image of someone they had missed, someone dear that they had not seen in a long time. The lack and loss had left their mark differently in each kid and their reactions varied. The grownups saw the children  stop playing and dancing  suddenly and reacting by crying or smiling or falling into deep silence or shouting out names that no longer existed. A small pandemonium broke out and as much as they wanted to understand them, they did not see the figures that the children were indignantly screaming about. The emotional tension was reaching its peak and they decided to act logically. They hastily took the children home and let them calm down. The rain kept on falling for three days and nights. A rain that was refreshing, fragrant and extremely soothing. Their crops would give fruits, the soils would forget their thirst and the wells would be full of water again. Oh yes, life would return to normality, whatever that might be.
      And so, four months passed by peacefully with smiles and conversations about the rain and its benefits on everything. The kids went back to school and their homework and games at the village’s square. Their parents returned to their works in the fields and most of them to their cattle. Everything returned to normal and that sense of calmness nested again undisturbed in the hearts of simple men, or at least it seemed so. 
     It started simultaneously. The children started behaving in a strange way. They were abstracted, slept much more and began to become introvert. They had begun to neglect their schoolwork, even the good students just carried their bodies and books to school with no interest at all. The teachers called the parents for a talk under the suspicion that something was going on at home. The parents, on the other hand, believed that something was going on at school because they had lost their appetite and the mood for playing, they were locked in their rooms for hours and they were absentminded. After a week, the dialogues started. The children when they were locked in their rooms, they were talking to someone loudly. Entire dialogues were taking place and when the parents entered to check them out, the children stopped. The same happened in the school breaks and the training time. The children, with the same abstract look they had all this time, were talking to imaginary and invisible people and were highly absorbed in this process. At first, they would not reveal these people but when they did their parents and teachers were shocked. They talked to Felipe, the bunny, the grandpa or grandma who had passed away, parents and beloved toys. 
    The night of the rain seemed to be repeated in terrifying dimensions. On that night they just saw their beloved ones. Now they talked to them and it seemed that there were responses to their sayings. The grownups got terrified and called the doctor who, after he examined the children in great detail, phoned his friend and neurologist Smits who lived three villages away. He came with the psychiatrist of the hospital where we worked. The three of them examined thoroughly each one of the children and were not able to reach a conclusion. All their tests were normal. They were not able to see the connection. The tests multiplied, the cold winter continued with the rains and the dark mood in the village. The children kept talking with their beloved deceased but now they had a kind of inner balance. While at first you could see them shut down in themselves and want to keep it a secret, now it was something that was freely and openly done. They had gradually returned to their old selves and habits. They concentrated more on their schoolwork. The smile was back on their faces and they talked openly about the conversations they had. At the family table, you could hear phrases like: “Dad, grandpa knows that his death was not your fault. He wanted you to know that”, or “Felipe didn’t go away but it is all right that you didn’t tell me”, or even “Mum, Dad always thought that you are beautiful but he could not find the words to say so”. Phrases like that that came out suddenly, made the forks fall down and the tears roll down and the silence spread around. At first it felt so eerie but as time went by, it became a habit, a part of everyday life and in fact something that the grownups longed for. “Didn’t grandpa say anything today?”, or “What did you talk about with Dad today? Did he say anything about me?” 
    That first rain had brought such a fuss but also an unnatural serenity in relations.  Now, they could work on their past inside them and soften the harsh feelings of loss and unfinished businesses. The children felt comfortable with their new role and it was now something completely normal. The parents, witnessing this fact, asked the doctors to leave. They had accepted it and they didn’t want the children to suffer with more tests, but deep inside they didn’t want anything to change. They wanted the things to keep exactly the same, with an access to the bridge of life and death. They felt peace and atonement. 

      So the doctors left with the promise that they would return on a regular basis to monitor the situation. Basically, they wanted more time for the wounds to heal. Anyway, nobody knew if that mysterious phenomenon would last. 

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