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February

By: Blanka Pillár


Somewhere there was a crossroads near the border, in a smoky child's face with round eyes. Blue-yellow brick low houses and dark green pine trees surrounded it, and in summer the purple statices opened in the garden; in spring, the hot sunlight stretched across the forest canopy. Round Eyes’ first memory was of this landscape, where years of warm embraces and happy barks were repeated over and over again. They called this place Life; it was as they imagined the world of fairy tales. Until now.

Something shook the earth. It shuddered, deep and angry, as if the grey sky had fallen. Morning dew covered the blades of grass and a thick mist descended on the cool ground. Even the air swirled backwards, and the birds flew far away. The family ran out of the brick house and stared at the Thursday shadows. The child’s button eyes watch as all the spring, summer, autumn, and winter gather in two grey canvas bags, as the faltering zipper is pulled on the resin-scented warm wool sweaters and the smiling stuffed elephants, as Mother and Father pray in whispers, as they lock the door of Life without a key.

Lacking a vehicle, they walk away from the crossroads, the blue and yellow brick low houses, the dark green pines, the purple statices, and the memory of warm hugs and happy barks. The round child's face fills with hot tears, with the helpless sorrow of incomprehension and lack. She doesn't know where the touch of silky grey dog-tails and the fresh scent of the short-cut lawn has gone; before and behind her lies an endless sea of concrete surrounded by barren trees. All around her, words she had never heard before, harder-sounding names of unfamiliar places are repeated with terrified powerlessness.

Meanwhile, time's arrow marches on, the wind picks up, and the horizon bends to dark blue. The Mother takes a brown bun from her canvas bag, caresses the child's cold face, and then holds theirtiny body close to her, cradling and humming the song she used to sing when the family was ill. The melody rings sweetly, filling the lonely night and drowning out the deafening noise of strangeness.

Twilight and dawn meet; dust is heavier on their feet, and their eyes look wearily into the bare winter. Life lies farther than the round eyes and the darkening child's face could possibly look back.

They can only guess where they are going, leaving fading footprints on the edge of towns, hoping to cross something larger soon. They dare only believe that the sun will come out the next day, that there will be night, and that the clear sky stars will shine with the same piercing light.



Blanka Pillár is a sixteen-year-old writer from Budapest, Hungary. She has a never-ending love for creating and an ever-lasting passion for learning. She has won several national competitions and has been a columnist for her high school’s prestigious newspaper, Eötvös Diák.


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