You can’t escape growing up. It hits everyone. It can be earlier or later for some people. It often happens overnight. All of a sudden. It strikes you at the most awkward moment. Like a fever and shivering at a late hour, it shakes you hard, leaving you completely exhausted to make a confession to the dawn. You grow up even faster at night. In the dark. With no advice, or acceptance or support. Those who have been duly prepared for life are a rare and privileged species. A more common way is to go from a baby walker straight to a hurdle race, from the multiplication table to trigonometry, from riding with training wheels to riding on a motorway. You have no choice but to learn, know and want. In short, you have no choice but to live.
I know I can do a lot. Endure, tolerate, have patience. I know I can do everything with ease, even when the going gets tough. I know I can, even when there are a thousand reasons to say no and not a single one to say yes. I know I can, even when I myself am not sure it is possible. I know I can persist so adamantly that my own perseverance turns into stubbornness, that I consciously go against myself, rebel against myself.
I know I can do everything. Fear nothing, keep silent even when the thickest skin on my body tears from kneeling, survive even when neither side of my pillow is dry. The only thing I wonder is how long life keeps such people in the dock. How long will I have to prove that I can do everything? Is it necessary for every man to die suddenly only to prove that he is not scared of dying? That is why, despite being able to do everything, I also have the right to choose between “I will” and “I won’t”, between “I want” and “I don’t want”, “I agree” and “I don’t agree”. That is why I am my greatest support and my greatest enemy. Torn in half between “must” and “want”, “tolerate” and “wish”. In a constant cold war between the two worlds.
There is only one thing I know I cannot do any more. I refuse to be around those of you who ask too many questions but do not have the answers, and those of you who reach a lot of conclusions but know little. To be around advisers without experience, those who are smiling but heartless, and those who will side with anyone but lose their own identity. Around those who condemn others but do not know how to cope with their own guilty conscience. To the naïve and envious, other people’s lives always seem easy, and the truth is they are far from being easy.
I give up. I do not hold any grudges. I do not ask for an apology. I just can’t do it any more. I leave it to you to be always right. I choose a different path. I am going to a place where toys are made of plastic instead of raw beating human hearts, where you play hide and seek for fun, not in order to survive. I pass the torch to those who would change the world by their victory because I realised all the battles I had fought had been fought against my sole enemy, myself.
Now I know that nobody wins in such wars and that all victories are Pyrrhic because there always remains a part of us that has lost. That is why I have hung up my bleeding fists and gone outside to play. I’ll be home before the dark.
Translated from the Serbian by Svetlana Milivojević-Petrović
Ovaj post je dostupan i na: Serbian