It rained today. Not a lot of rain; just enough to inconvenience a person carrying a folder full of endangered papers, who didn’t have an umbrella. Just enough to make you question if it’s weird to wear gloves in the rain; if it’s better to just take them off. Won’t we be cold anyway?
It rained today for the first time since the ice melted away, and as I crossed the path between the skeleton of a winter-ravaged park and the rolling wheels of the street, the scent of rain on dust hit me; the sort of smell you didn’t realize you missed until you smell it again. Until it stings your eyes. Until you can taste the incoming spring.
We sat in that café again today, and I asked myself again what I would leave behind. My grandmother told me a story some months ago, about a man who died in a foreign country not knowing his purpose. You can die without knowing what you have contributed; that’s for later generations to know, not you.
We sat in that café again today and I looked at all of you, at your much-too-intelligent faces, at the strange chain of events that led us to sit here together, in between classes, in between routines, with that look in your eyes that is somewhere between fascination and the urge to argue a point. You are the age I was when I stopped having memories.
Some months back I sat in another café, in another country, with a boy who will be a soldier. I don’t know, he said, when I asked about war. Who knows what the world will be like by then?
Some months back they played the missile sirens in a nearby army encampment, just to practice. Who knows what the world will be like, soon? I look towards a country that seems torn between embracing me and rejecting me. The last hands I touched were of a friend, of a refugee. We sat eating McDonald’s, and asked ourselves how any of us came to be there, in a mall, eating the essence of Western consumerism — they fleeing war, me spending my life skirting it. Everything will be all right, they said. Everything will be alright.
This Plan is a rush that takes over your life in the most beautiful and terrible way. It’s forcing yourself to wake up, to drag yourself out of your home, to take each conversation like it may be your last. If you see them once, teach the Cause. If you see them more, live the life. Live the life.
This Plan is rising to a climax, and in my lifetime I know I will witness everything outside it crash down into chaos. I go back to that café and sit there and look at you, and think of the future soldier, of the refugee. Think of your counterparts, my friends, back home. Share a taste of a world that I’ve only begun to have a vision of. Know, deep in my heart, that you understand it so much more than I will.
Spring is coming, and so is the end. I’ve stopped stocking up my fridge with more than a few euros’ worth at a time; there’s no point in buying a replacement for that bottle of ketchup – I’ll never finish it. I’ve started mentally cataloging the clothes I can afford to leave behind. I’m reading the biggest books, just in case I have no space for them later.
Spring is coming, and so is the end. And so as I’m walking home with the rain all over this folder, getting all the pages wet, I wonder how much of it is rain and how much of it is me, tearing up, torn, a skeletal winter tree looking down and realizing that the grass is still there, after all. It’s time to move on.
I’m now a regular writer at Hypable, writing features on all the best movies (often with a touch of social reality), such as How ‘Wonder Woman’ might revolutionize the female character arc.
The limits of cartography is a spiritual Harry Potter fanfic from the perspective of the Marauder’s Map (that was the prompt — it ended up being surprisingly deep), and my last entry for the QLFC.
The Tisroc and the King is now at Chapter 9, and things are really getting intense. If you like warring nations with young rulers meeting each other in their dreams, you should be reading!