Κυριακή, 1 Μαΐου 2016

THE CLOSED WINDOW


A year had passed since he had returned to his mother’s house at the village. The factory, where he worked, closed and he had hard times with his expenses back at the city. At least, in the village, an empty house was waiting for him for as long as he needed it, till things got sorted out. The last time he was here was three years ago, in the spring at his mother’s funeral. He couldn’t deal with it so he decided not to return. He didn’t want to have any connection with his house, nor the place where he had spent his childhood, nor the people with whom he grew older. It was difficult enough for him to turn the key in the keyhole that morning. He cleaned it, threw away her things, opened the windows for the damp, weeded out the garden, repaired a part of the roof that was about to collapse. He turned it into a home. His fellow villagers came to help him since he was Crystallia’s only son, whom everyone loved and knew how much she adored her son. He kept them in a distance, as if he was ashamed of his return, as if he was ashamed that he didn’t make it in the big city, as if he was ashamed of all his small failures that looked huge to him. He didn’t want to connect with them, so they receded and there were no more misunderstandings. They didn’t bother him and so did he. 
Time went by and his money ran out. In the village he didn’t have a chance for a day job. He was turning forty and he had to make serious decisions about his life. Everything was so fragile. Anxiety and despair were his routine and he was too proud to accept any offer or forgiveness. The memories kept him awake and tortured him. He was a grown man but he was afraid of the future and his life like a small boy. 
And then on that May Day Eve the most peculiar thing happened. After a long week of insomnia and headaches, he went to bed tired and edgy. Like any other night, he twirled in the bed sweating with all his thoughts hunting him. He heard a noise at the window and he got up really upset. He opened it. He saw no one. As he closed it, he heard a buzz and looked down at the sill. An insect that looked like a green may beetle was there and fought as if it had a quarrel with its feathers. It fought as if it wanted to separate them from the rest of its iridescent body. While he watched it, he remembered his childhood. All the children gathered at the square of the village during those long summer afternoons and they played until their mothers would call them for dinner and a nap. When they found green may beetles, they really tortured them. They tied them with cords, they threw dirt and stones at them, they would trap them in small metal boxes just to hear them buzz in despair. He was really afraid of them. He was scared of their eerie color but he tried not to show it to the other kids because they would make fun of him. So, the beetles would escape from him in a magical way but he would have to look at the other insects at the hands of their torturers and of course pretend that he himself was trying to catch as much. Αs a grown up in the city he never say green may beetles, so this phobia of his stayed at the back corners of his mind. But on that night, the forgotten sense of threat returned in him and made his heart beat like a drum. And the minute he realized it, the most intriguing thing happened. The insect started growing bigger. Its abdomen started swelling and the buzz was stronger. He tried to close the window but it had already put half of its body inside the room and it was about to spread its wings that were about his own size. 
It entered the room and fell on the wooden floor without stopping its rhythmic buzz. He felt his breath coming out with great difficulty. If that was a dream, or nightmare in this case, it sure was realistic. The beetle stood in front of the window without moving and stared at him, as if it examined him. He did the same thing in an attempt to communicate with an unreal creature, coming right out of his childhood nightmares. If he ever succeeded in escaping, no one would ever believe him. Its wings flapped as if it was about to fly in the room. It almost reached his height and its golden color glittered in the night. What if it was as scared as he was? What if it accidentally entered a world unknown to it? What if everything was an illusion as a result of the insomnia? He could not be certain of anything. He couldn’t tell how much time had passed. Both of them, apart from the fear and the shock, looked like they estimated their own strength. He gradually felt more awake and alive than ever. He was overwhelmed by that immense sense of energy. For the first time in a long time, it was as if he had exorcised all of his fears and his insecurities. A forgotten childish nightmare was standing in front of him in an unpredictable mood and he had totally forgotten all the burden that locked him down. 

He knew that he had to act immediately. Without a second thought, he jumped on its abdomen and awkwardly grabbed its wings. The green May beetle must have been waiting for his move and flew from the open window into the night.

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