The sun was red as blood. It loomed through the haze of a warm summer morning, climbing slowly up behind the mountain. It was nothing unusual or never seen before, but this time it looked somehow allegorical. Like a bloody stamp on the sky above the city.
People didn’t notice. Quiet and sleepy, driving with the early morning bus; the lucky ones who still had somewhere to go. There is no crowd. There are no more factories working and there are no sirens to mark the beginning at 6 and the end at 2. You couldn’t breathe from the crammed bodies before. These remains of the past, were only a heavy reminder of the deadness and downfall.
It is obvious which social class they do belong to. Exhausted, rough men, workers at various business owners, who drain their strength like leeches – no matter of the weather; security guards in uniform, who are carrying their head in a danger for a miserable salary while their bosses resting in their villas and on the yachts; women with dark patches around their eyes, cashiers in supermarkets or maids, torn between heartless tycoons and family, without Sundays and holidays, with broken spirits and with a frozen professional smile; a nurse, a bit more sophisticated than the rest of this everyday society.
And school kids.
A strange generation, lost in the madness of this imposed time, hopeless and inserted too early into the millstone that relentlessly grinds everything. Α generation without ideals, the worshipers of false values and wrong people. The youth, who think that drinking at the on weekend is the heights of entertainment. If you are not at the place where cheap folk music blares, then you’re “out”. Their socialising boils down to competing who will get a better selfie or who will insult somebody on social-media. Their communication is reduced to typing and …emoji. They dream of pushing into the “golden youth”, a social layer which their own fathers deleted long ago all the right values with their greed, their corruption and their imposing money as their deity. Why the effort and the education when you can live better as a thief or a rascal… Dirty money buys happiness and erases the boundaries of morality. Honest work creates numbers.
Humans became numbers. The sacrificial sheep.
And the numbers end up as unemployed. As part of statistics. The part of the stagnant swamp that spreads around, swallowing hopeless and numb sheep. The swamp has become commonplace, where you walk –your head down, disempowered and humiliated. Fear killed attitudes and pride. The fear of hungry mouths and of the old parents you care. You just bend to the ground and crawl through the mud searching for discarded crumbs.
Where have all the ideals gone? Where have all the dreams gone? Where has the human being gone?
If ever existed…
Or was he always just a number, a tiny grain of sand in the desert, lost in the crowd, with occasional take-offs, trying to break away from planned destiny and ending even deeper in the dust?
She was sitting, staring at the redness in the sky, dissecting her own wasted life. All the dreams and aspirations have disappeared a long time ago. They were not even expected to succeed. Her fate was determined by birth in a small traditional environment. When you are in such an environment, born as a woman, you cannot nag, you just bend your head to the demands of the others. You cannot have your own wishes. If you rebel, punishment follows. And you don’t want scars on your face. You don’t realise that the scars that remain on your soul are much deeper.
Growing up was a painful experience, with deep-set fear in her head. The fear which paralyses and keeps in the same place, in a cage with a myriad of enforced rules. She wanted to escape. She wanted a life without grids.
The chains in her head were stronger.
She turned into a plant that breathes, works, eats and sleeps, and now her fate inflicts the final blow.
The last morning, marked by the bloody stamp on the east; the last journey and she’ll become a statistical number. The only thing that still makes her feel that her life has a higher purpose far from those imposed by birth, will be gone. One seat on the bus will stay empty and probably no one will notice.
The door of the only place, where she could laugh and enjoy the company of others like her, who were able to turn their own misery into black humour, will close today. Collective suicide. That’s how they self-sarcastically named themselves, aware of decay, and powerless to change anything. She spent with them more than half of her life. They knew her better than her own family, which didn’t care for her traumas and discontent.
– Why don’t you leave? – They asked her many times.
As if people like her have somewhere to go in this time of hopelessness and non-existent opportunities. After all, she had more years behind her than in front of her, her body was exhausted and her mind was empty. Hope for change was gone, killed by her fear and by the sense of guilt and responsibility to everyone, except to herself. Reconciled with her stagnant life, she walked on the same path.
Even now, when the path is collapsing, opening a gap, which inexorably devours the weak people like her, and while she’s going through the decay of her own life, aware of all mistakes, while her brain screams that she must jump and move away from the deadly abyss, she’s just sitting, numbed, driving toward the end.
The people like her don’t go anywhere. They slowly sink into their swamps, enslaved by their own chains. They remain in the same place, accepting their fate, staring at the light of the bloody stamp that pours slowly over the roofs.