If father happened to look at the sky and say, “There’s a storm coming!” that’s what would happen. In one, two, or maybe as much as three hours, black clouds would appear, then thunder and then rain. If, on the other hand, he happened to say, “Not a leaf will stir today,” the day would slowly inch by in a scorching dead calm. And so, when he folded the newspaper that evening and sighed before sadly saying, “There’s a war coming,” his two sons looked at each other and felt a shiver along their spines. They were certain that this time, too, father would be right.
First they heard the sound of gunshots and cannonballs from afar. Father asked mother to watch out for the boys and secure the house, and he left along with the other men for the place where the mountains begin. Yet the airplanes came from the place where the sea ends and they dropped their bombs. The house trembled and mother snatched up both children and ran to hide them in the bends of the riverbed.
The young son heard the soldiers’ heavy footsteps and his mother’s sobs. And when night fell, in the heavy quietude, he left his hiding place and found his mother sitting on the little rock. “They took your brother!” mother said and in her eyes there was the deepest of pain.
“They took my eldest son!” father looked towards the sea and said. “They took my boy!” and he turned towards the mountains. But neither sea nor mountains did he see. His tear-filled eyes could see nothing but shadows. And when pain chokes your chest, the years roll by slowly, with laboured breath. And a little hope, perhaps… “I asked everyone, I wrote letters… but no one has seen my eldest son,” father soliloquized every day, every year, for years on end… Until the grief made him old and someone probably took pity on him and time came for his eyes to close once and for all – those tear-filled eyes that could see only shadows.