Giving up is not an option

british-flag     jahorina-zastava-srpska

Sometimes life puts us to the test not because we should learn something new, but to revise the stuff we have already learned. To check whether we really know something, or it’s just empty talk. To see how we put into practice what we talk about in theory. There are enough A-graders, know-how experts are required now.

Sometimes it gets slutty, puts on sheep’s clothing, and with powder on its paws starts bleating outside our front door. It flashes fool’s gold in front of the eyes of the hungry just to see if they have learned it does not assuage hunger, offers sauerkraut juice to the thirsty to make sure they have learned how to avoid ending up thirsty in the midst of water. Then it shows us all the nuances, shades and tints of its bizarre nature, making the sad laugh at funerals and the happy cry at weddings.

Because life is a miracle.

Sometimes, in order for us to survive, it makes us dance our way out of death like Aska the sheep, weave a web waiting for love like Penelope, endlessly whisper tales to slaughterers like Scheherazade, lead slave wars for a breath of freedom like Spartacus, for years love in vain only with our eyes like Petrarch and due to our curiosity lose the promised paradise like Adam.

Oh you, Life of mine, although you know me so well, somehow you misjudged me when you put me to this test. You can’t keep my head underwater as long as I can hold my breath there. Since I am already hungry you cannot starve me over again because I have known for long how to survive on bread and water. However hard you try, you cannot hurt me more since you dealt me the heaviest blow on that December day, a quarter of a century ago, when you brought me to this place. But you also did me the biggest favour then.

I have already been hungry, thirsty, naked, barefoot, sick and alone. What can you do to me now? Do you think you can harm me with a couple of lost opportunities, a few sleepless nights, a couple of lumps in my throat in the face of fear and with the little draught in my wallet. You are funny. If I’d feared all the things you assaulted me with, I would’ve given up even before I started to walk. It is too late now. You’ve raised a stubborn, defiant, worthy opponent.

This is why you can’t do anything to me today, because my aim is higher than your hurdles, so I cannot lose sight of it, because my motivation is not the materialistic, which is your domain, but the love that I have hidden deep inside me from your transience. You can’t do anything to me today, nor will you ever be able to, since I believe so strongly in a better tomorrow as a blind man believes that the sun exists. We may not have seen it yet, but we can feel it. It shines.

Translated from the Serbian by Svetlana Milivojević-Petrović