Thursday, 28 November 2013
The bell rang, marking the end of recess. We casually strolled back to our cellrooms. Five years within the walls of the prisonyard and no more were we frightened by the jailers. Their clamouring did nothing to agitate us.
Taking our time, we settled down, unkeenly awaiting the arrival of the Gingerfrench Man. Although he was the fairest of them all, the mirror on the wall could attest to that, he was reputed to be the most dreaded jailer. We watched him make a beeline for our cellroom.
"Bonjour," he said in his foreign accent. Turning his table-top behind to us, he scribbled the words 'LA VIE EST UN COMBAT' on the wall.
"Meaning? Anybody?", he asked pointing to the words he had written.
"I," said a voice
"Vying is a combat," replied the voice.
"Wiser is he who remains silent and is thought a fool than he who opens his mouth and removes all doubt," retorted the Gingerfrench Man disgustedly. Majority let out a stifled laugh. We all knew better than to answer the jailer's questions. No reply was ever good enough for him.
"La vie est un combat."
"La vie est un combat," he repeated slowly, almost whispering, as if talking to himself.
Pacing about the room, he started.
"We are at war."
"War?" "With who?" We were puzzled.
As if sensing this, he continued, "Yes, We are at war. We are living a war. At war with ourselves and with one another."
"This war didn't start yesterday. Non, non, it is as old as time itself. It has always been and will be till the end of time."
"A war like no other. It is in stages, levels. Like those intelligence quotient reducing games you all love to play. Oui, you conquer one stage and you're automatically fighting to stay alive in another."
Jabbing his index finger at no one in particular, he said,
"You were conceived in this war. As soon as you were, the fight began. You fought with all you had to survive, to pull through, into this world of ours. Indeed, you fought hard enough and conquered or you'd be six feet under and pushing up daisies."
He paused and stared into nothing. Like a man in a trance, he continued speaking,
"Each man fights for his own cause. Some same, some différent. Winning is paramount. It is all that matters, irrespective of the means."
"Some fight for the sake of love, some fight for money, some power, a good number for fame, some fight just to survive."
"Some succeed in their quest. The not so smart fail in theirs. The unlucky ones fall by the way side."
"Very few want the war to end. Only the weak end theirs. Majority push just hard enough to stay on their feet. For the few wise ones, winners never quit and quitters never win is the motto."
Our eyes followed him as he walked towards the door. He said with finality in his voice,
"It is a war of passion fueled by the desire to stay alive, to keep breathing, to always awaken to a new day."
"Life is the war."
"The war is life."
"La vie est un combat."
"Life is a battlefield."
And he was out.
We saw a different side of the Gingerfrench Man that day. We saw the weird but intellectual part of him. "Who knows what act he'll bring on next," we thought to ourselves. We silently prayed his path would never again cross ours. If our prayers were answered, time will tell.
We see the questions in your eyes.
Who are we?
We are many but one. We are a special class of convicts.
Where are we?
A special type of prison.
What do we want?
Well, thats for us to know and for you to find out.
Will this be the first and last you'll hear from us?
Only time will tell.