Who Turned On the Dark?

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Who Turned On the Dark?

Our word for «fable». Not to be confused with Bosna, our word for «Bosnia». In a basna animals take on human attributes; in Bosna vice versa.

An unexpected appearance. Authentic, vital, sturdy, generally liked. Anonymous for a long time, looking for his place in the world. And then he took it without taking anything from the others. He made me used to the idea that I had sons, and to answer to the question «how’s your son?» with «which one?» He changed my life. He changed our life. He interfered in Roman’s heritage. Heritage? Will it be possible to talk about such a thing after the war? Anyway, he made easier the loss of Predrag, my mother, the loss of Vareš…

This is what your mother gives birth to and you leave behind when, being the eldest, you go into the world. It is what has the same blood as you, the same father and the same mother, but you do not understand one another too well, because wandering over the world you have picked up other kinsmen, though not of the same blood. It is somebody that informs you about the death of your mother and you cannot understand because the radio message is so full of interference, noise so poor and so cold. And if you have another brother, then he is somebody you never hear since the war has incapacitated the already incapacitated, capable even more capable, although somewhat different. One is in the BH Army, the other in Croat Defence. One defended Vareš from the first one. The former is a vicorious liberator now, the latter is wounded and on the territory of the common enemy. I do not understand anything, and I am not sure if either of them understands. Thank God, mother is dead and does have to try to understand anything.

The first, the last and the only grammatical and living person. No need to say the most important, or singular, because it has no plural. Only I has experienced the war, only I is hungry, only I has been killed, only I has been wounded, only I has suffered, only I has been freezing, only I loves and hates. Only I understands and yet nothing is clear to him. Only I is a hero and has the eyes of a terrified child. The war has helped that I understand that God is also – I. Why I is – the one, the only the first and the last, the most important. There is nothing beyond I, yet I is not alone or lonely, I is not poor in senses. I? How much I love my?! I – how pluralistic it sounds!

It is the one who always worries the most. With reason and without reason. And when can a mother be most worried if not in war? My mother worried through the first half of the war, in the second half she did not. She died in the second half. Now, nobody worries about us. Nobody has to – we are all grown up now, we have also got used to the war. Some of the worries she had not taken with her, she divided unevenly among her children, so I worry a little bit more about all of us now. Perhaps the others think the same about themselves, but I cannot check it now. I shall wait for the war to be over.
The worst is that mother died 45 kilometers away from me. And I could not be at her funeral. Neither could my sister who was closer. The brothers came during the break between attacking and which one defending, but it is no longer important. She was lucky to have died before the army liberated both her and my and our Vareš. She needed not that liberation anyway. I know, thus, at least where she was buried. Next to the father who had booked the place for her and for all of us, as we had agreed.

The name that, since recently, bears all the absurdity of dying for ideals. Since then I have met many who said the same. No, nobody was ready to put in on the paper as well. Probably the opinion of a rocker was still fresh in the memory and the horrible response to it.
It is difficult to say which hurts more: the death itself or once you realise it. The awareness always comes afterwards. If death could have a chance of being subsequent.

Before the war I had Roman. A son. During the war I published my first novel (roman), and wrote the second. Roman liked the novels. The local public did not. I liked reading novels. So did my son Roman. The ultimate success of my novel: everybody in the building read it. Now, I have started my third novel. My Roman, the most important of all my «romans» (novels), has completed primary schol and is now in the high scholl. A boy that has grown into a man and has – a brother. So that he is not alone among the novels. Boris, Roman’s brother, has become the important «roman» among novels.

Lucky are those who have her. I have not known this before. I even do not know when I have found that out. Yet… she left the town as a pregnant woman, because some Muslims proclaimed her, the Croat, a Chetnik woman?! It was the time when everybody was persecuted. Everybody was a suspect of something. Since then I have not received two letters from her. I have not written a single one to her. She is in the Serb territory and is firing at us. She? Her husband? Close relatives of her husband? Who could understand that? I have only one sister and I wish the things were different from what they are. But, will they ever change? It cannot be worse than it already is, can it? She still does not know what my younger son looks like and her daughter has not seen any of her three uncles yet. We are Ustashas for them, Alija’s soldiers, mujahedins, as their beloved TV teaches them. She is a Chetnik woman for us. The feminine gender of the noun Chetnik that denotes a dirty, bearded and drunk creature, as our beloved TV teaches us.

It is when you have a place of birth and it is written in your documents. This is where your graves and your everythings is. It is the place that is surrounded by soldiers who do not like it, and inside it, two kinds of soldiers who claim to like it and then they start fighting over who likes it more. However, those who love it do nothing against it. The weaker party among the defenders did harm to Vareš, the stronger one even bigger. The worst part is that my two brothers were in two different armies of those who allegedly liked Vareš. The worst is that nobody ever asked them anything. The worst is that my Vareš fell. My brother liberated it. The worst is that I have Vareš no more, and I do not know much about my brothers either and I do not know whether to be happy or to cry. I any case I have lost Vareš. Everybody place of birth in future as well. It will be sufficient to look into my papers and I shall know which it is.

AuthorŽeljko Ivanković
2018-08-21T17:23:45+00:00 April 1st, 2001|Categories: Prose, Literature, Blesok no. 20|0 Comments