Wednesday, April 18, 2012


My friend Milan at work, a Serb, was correcting one of the other people in his lunch group. I believe it was Jelena, an Albanian, but it was one of the many folks from the Balkans we have working in environmental services at the hospital. She had talked a bit wistfully about how her village was close when she was young, and there were always people to go talk to and be with, but now she does not have friends close, and her family farther away than she would like. Milan's brow darkened.
We are close together because was for safety. You go out of village alone, maybe someone kill you, rape you. We are together, always together like animals to hunt. You come here you see this one French,* that one from somewhere Africa, friend for you but not close. But not kill you.

An important point, that. But memory does soften the edges of even terrible events. And even more in Jelena's defense, friendship and support soften the edge of terrible events too. She would likely choose again to come here. But the loss is real.

*Milan lives in Suncook, I think, so French-Canadian is likely


Texan99 said...

Military men have the same wistfulness about the Band of Brothers, though they're happy to escape the war and go home. Wouldn't it be nice if we could get the intimacy under fire without the fire?

jaed said...

But the loss is real.

That's an observation that bears a lot of thinking about. It is so important to be able to accept that something was for the best and still understand that a loss of some sort was involved. (And that acknowledging that loss is not the same as wishing the good thing hadn't happened.)

More social, political and historical examples than I can shake a stick at, as well of course as examples in just about everyone's life....

Sam L. said...

Everything has a cost. Sometimes it's money. Sometimes it's emotional. "Piece of my heart", as we say.