Livid with resentment, Joey’s rapid shallow breathing was almost deafening in that mouldy, dank, dark, dead hell-hole of a cell. He fantasized beating his brothers up, wringing their necks and smashing their face in the dirt of their own making. Nothing less would pacify his tormented soul and mind.
“Come on, straighten your body and let me help you,” Agim said. Then as he placed on the boy’s forehead a piece of cloth saturated in vinegar, he added: “Oh my God! You’re still burning with fever boy. The antipyretics given by the wardens aren’t working on you young man.” He sighed desperately and asked: “What happened out there that made you go ballistic? What have they done to you?”
“I love my family.” Joey whispered, “I believe in its hierarchy. I was doing my best to obey my older brother’s commands, though never agreeing with them. I didn’t ask for life in the sidelines, none asked me either where or how to live. I have simply been ordered and kicked around to serve other’s needs. And now, look at my life, alienated, alone, redeeming the others sins.”
Agim leaned over and whispered in the young man’s ear: “Whatever happened elsewhere in the prison, remember that communists are doing whatever to destroy families. They love splitting a child from his mother and a husband from his wife.”
Agim then, stepped sitting on the cement bunk. He took the pipe out of his trouser pocket and slowly filled it up while asking: “Where are you from son? Your accent sounds a bit strange.”
“From the south,” he replied quietly but the persistent gaze of the man forced him to whisper: “From the Promised Land.”
“Where is that?”
“There, where joy flooded daily in my family,” Joey replied with the voice resonating by nostalgia.
In fractions of a second, his memory traveled back in time: to the house left behind. Before his eyes, emerged scenes of a multicolour film, along with his siblings, he was seated in front of the fireplace, listening enchanted to their mother stories. Indeed, with his mother, their village life seemed a fairy tale.
“Do you want to talk about?” Agim asked calmly.
Joey, head aside answered: “Gladly. I like talking about it, although my brothers won’t let me even think about.”
Agim silently smoked his pipe without interrupting his enthusiasm...
“Mom said that she was in love with my dad ahead of marriage, quite a rare event back in that time. It was late 1920’s when my uncle suggested their marriage...”
Extracted by the upcoming book Evading Destiny by Elira Bregu