Christmas lights


Some words had a hard time finding their meaning. I understood freedom and equality relatively early on, because although the seventies and eighties were loud in the absence of these in Central Europe, it was difficult for them to fully challenge childhood freedom. Brotherhood or solidarity, on the other hand, remained a foreign pebble in my mouth all along. It’s to spit, it’s to swallow. Of course, the dictatorship created a kind of togetherness, as it enchanted us to be the same as the Romanians, but this forced equality went a long way towards looking at each other as brothers. Especially if someone left with a degree of nicer chicken prank after waiting long hours. The eye maturing in the ticket system became very sharp on the differences, immediately indicating and accounting for the nuances of misery. Brotherhood seemed like a concept worth revolutionizing in textbooks, dying a martyr in the novels, but what does it really mean? Nobody knew. And with whom should we show solidarity if we do not have to share the day with each other? The dictatorship has woven into a fine network of prosperity and skill, and the effects of this are still being felt in our generation. You can really only count on yourself, your family, and some close, tried-and-tested friends (though there may be surprises here), we’ve seen this, we’ve inherited it; we need to think instead of the government, to engage in power decisions, to maintain a tight state within the state. I didn’t think of the term for a long time, it popped up during vaccination campaigns lately. When some have pointed out that vaccination is not just about protecting our own lives and health, it is also an eloquent act of solidarity. This will help overworked health workers, our compatriots in all sorts of other troubles, and those who have been pushed to the brink of bankruptcy by epidemiological measures. That is, behind the personal decision is basically a moral aspect: I am able to overcome my own – sometimes completely irrational – fears in order to help each other and thus neutralize the fears. The epidemic turned us into a child as much as the paternalistic dictatorship did at the time. And many, as a kind of resistance, don’t even want to grow up. More important is what we hear in the sandbox from the other trembling child than what the larger ones who know the toys say, because they are also suspicious, and in our minds they too belong to the paternalistic power that rules the world. Knowledge is still ambiguous, so is initiation. It is easier to say no to everything, to preserve our integrity, and not to jeopardize the last gate, the last defense system: our own body. It’s hard to confront the experiences deposited in the bones. And with conjecture. Somewhere someone wants to take power over us, full control, to challenge our integrity, and thereby make us vulnerable, that is, vulnerable. After all, the epidemic is also part of the power struggle! It’s an interesting duality in Ka-Europe: children who corner themselves, play adulthood, are afraid of being cornered even more and becoming even more childish, perhaps downright infant. After all, someone who is controlled by a chip is really like that. The first wave almost worked wonders for us. I keep a lot of touching stories from that time; strangers shopping for each other, people clinking dishes on the balconies every night, saying thanks to the doctors struggling for lives, balcony concerts and voices worried about each other. We have been tired ever since, the waves are coming, it is hard to count slowly. And when we already think it’s really over, even so, with this increased solidarity, we can defeat the virus, another variant, even more aggressive, even more contagious. It’s like not learning a lesson, so you have to take the same homework home over and over again. I also feel the inability to show solidarity. I shut up. I’m fine. Sometimes I see the characters in the novels I just read much closer to me than the people lurking around me in real life. The great novels certainly evoke compassion in me, sometimes I relieve the dead of the plague, the island, or the Blind more than I see in the news. What happened? Did the novels become more real and fiction of everyday reality? Or is it just a side effect, a strange complication of the coronavirus? I don’t know and I was hurt by this non-knowledge. It was as if there was such a desire in me that I, too, could live better, more fully, more truthfully on paper than in the scenery of my life. One night I watched a long line of lights on our decorated Christmas tree. Everyone slept peacefully, I wondered what it would be like to imagine the world, the universe, the planets as the winding light between the branches. Yet it is more lyrical than the lowland mania. Then I suddenly burst out laughing. I had to hold myself back so as not to wake anyone up. After being vaccinated three times, at the age of almost fifty, I laughed at my social solitude. My imagination is prone to anxiety. Then I turned off the burners with a single motion. (Nice word)

Source: Népszava by nepszava.hu.

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