Qilizmë e Liqere

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Po ngrohen në diell ndërsa presin përgjigjet e analizave. Plaku duket levend por ankohet se i vjen vendi rrotull. Plaka, sa një dorë, i rri pranë. “Më vjen keq ta lë vetëm.” Buzëqeshja ia lëmon brazdat në fytyrën bërë qilizmë nga plugu i derteve. S’ka qejf të dalë në fotografi, por plaku ia mbush mendjen. “Mbase do na shohin fëmijët e do gëzohen!” Kthehet nga unë: “U bëmë me vajzë pas katër djemve, e kaq desha. Vajza është për babanë! Por tani kanë ikur të pestë në Greqi, dhe rrallë vijnë.”

Shtëpinë në fshat e kanë rregulluar mirë. Jetojnë me pension e me punën e tyre. 

“Unë i jap mishin e bulmetin, agronomja më jep frutat e zarzavatet,” ngacmon plakën. Sytë i ka të kaltër e të kthjellët, si dy liqere stërpikur me borë. Pandeh se bën shaka kur më thotë se është 97 vjeç. “Në pasaportë më kanë shkruar të 1932-it. Por unë kullosja kecat në 32-in! Atëhere i shkruanin defterët pa e vrarë mendjen, mjafton të kishin saktë numrin e pjesëtarëve. Vëllai e ka kaluar qindin.”

Plaka skuqet si çupkë dhe nuk pranon ta sajdisësh, por plaku i jep drejtim. “Lere moj të na qerasë, se ia njoh babanë! Kam punuar me të kur qeshë djalë azgan e i hipja kalit pa shalë.”

Kthehem me lëngun e qershisë e shoh që plaku sapo ka paguar për 3 stilolapsa. Fshatari ka pak lekë nëpër duar, e kur shkon në qytet blen vetëm gjërat pa të cilat s’bën dot. M’u kujtua kur isha fëmijë e nëna me dërgonte të bleja bukën në dyqan. Ndrojtur më afrohej ndonjë fshatare e këputur, më zgjaste lekët e më lutej t’i bleja një bukë gruri, teksa ruhej se mos e pikaste shitësja. Fshatarët e shkretë, u binte bretku të na ushqenin ne, qytetarët, e vetë s’arrinin të mbushnin barkun me misërnike e dhallë. Atëhere i grinte uria, sot i mbyt vetmia.

Vallë, kujt i shkruan plaku netëve që s’kanë të sosur?

Furrows and Lakes

They’re soaking in the sunshine while waiting for the test results. The dapper old man looks as fit as a fiddle, but complains of dizziness. The old lady, petite as a shrunken apple, sits next to him. “I feel sorry to leave him alone” she says to me, her smile smoothing out the furrows in the rugged face ploughed by worries of a lifetime. She doesn’t like to be photographed but the old man brings her around “perhaps the children will get to see us and they’ll be happy!” Then facing me, he shares: “Our daughter was born after four boys and I got my wish. A daughter is always daddy’s little girl! But alas, they all went to Greece and seldom return.”

The house in the village is quite comfortable. They live with their retirement and work. “I provide meat and dairy while ‘my agronomist’ covers for fruits and veggies,” says he, teasing the old lady. His eyes are blue crystal clear, just like two lakes spattered with snow. I think he’s kidding me when he says he’s 97 years old. “The passport shows my birth date in 1932 but I was a shepherd then, looking after kids grazing in the meadows. Clerks didn’t care what it was scribbled in the records, as long as the family count was accurate. My brother is over 100 now.”

The old lady blushes like a maid and refuses my offer to treat, but her husband is the steering wheel. “It’s okay, I know her father! We worked together when I was a dashing youth, riding the horse without a saddle.”

I come back with the cherry juice box and see the old man at the counter, paying for three pens. A peasant has little money and, when in the city, acquires only the bare necessities. I recall when I was a kid and grandma would send me to the bakery. A drained peasant woman would stealthily approach me, shove the money in my hand and beg to buy her a loaf of wheat bread, all the while trying to escape the shopkeeper’s vigilant eye. Poor souls, they broke their back to feed us, the spoiled city people, while starving themselves with only cornbread and watery yogurt. Going hungry then, drowning in loneliness now.

To whom is the old man writing his letters in the endless nights?