Column oktober 2012. The Albino girl.

12 oktober 2012

This is not a column.
My life coach gave me the assingment to write a fairy tale
about the deadlock between;  looking for your ultimate talent versus talent devellopment.
So I did.

The Albino girl.

Once upon a time there was a man who thought he had everything and knew everything. He had a huge house close to the sea in a warm country. He knew the names of all the stars in the night sky. He worked hard, he had everything he wanted and if he wasn’t working he had pleasant company and was surrounded by sweet talented children and yet he wasn’t happy.

One night he stood in front of his house and looked along the star filled sky to the dark sea. At the surf he saw a dark patch. He walked over a small path to the patch and saw that it was the silhouette of a woman. She stood with her back to the sea and looked his way as if she had been waiting for him. She stretched out her hand and in a dream they walked on together, hand in hand  along the surf. He didn’t ask anything even though he had so many questions. He didn’t look at her even though he wanted nothing more than to see who the woman was. Finally he looked, saw her face, she smiled and her black hair flowed over the dark skin of her shoulders. When the moon sank into the pitch black sea and he could hardly see where he was walking, she guided him away from the sea onto a broad path across the dunes. The sound of laughing and singing men blew past them. Moments later he saw five houses in the distance, they were more like barracks. Soldiers were keeping fires going in front of the barracks. The woman squeezed his hand tightly, her smile was gone and with a nod she led him to the camp. It wasn’t long before a few men saw them come out of the dark. They shouted and screamed and before he knew it two men had harshly pinned him to the ground in a painful position. They forced him up. The woman was gone. They pushed him into a shack with a grille gate which they locked. From his cell he saw the barrack in front of which raged a large fire. Soldiers were walking excitedly to and fro. He saw the woman standing close to the fire. He saw the drunk men hit and kick her and witnessed that they repeatedly raped her. He heard how she screamed, groaned and moaned and finally was silent. He cried feeling powerless and fell asleep from grief.

The next morning he was woken by singing, a voice, a song, it sounded heavenly. He’d never heard such a beautiful melody. Of all the famous voices he had ever heard this was the most special, authentic and beautiful. The voice was like the sun coming up and warming your face, full and tingling. He now saw that it was the woman who was singing. She sat in a shack against the barrack behind bars. How could it be possible to sing so beautiful and pure after all the violence of the night before.

That evening the same scene repeated itself. The drunken soldiers took her out of her cell, beat her with sticks and blocks of wood until she bled and raped her. Again he couldn’t do anything except scream and shout for them to stop, again he fell asleep feeling guilty and in tears to wake up the following morning to her voice which sounded even warmer and purer than the night before. Why did she sing and for who he asked himself? How is it possible that someone with such a gift isn’t treated with respect by everybody? Why did the soldiers beat and rape her or was it because of the humiliation and depravation that she had found her voice? Like the slaves found the blues as comfort. He couldn’t ask her, her cell was too far off. That night the torture and raping was so extreme and long that he suspected she wouldn’t survive. Witnessing it was almost just as inhuman as what she had to go through. The next morning when he woke up it was quiet. The door of his cell stood open and when he walked out, the camp was empty and destroyed. He searched everywhere but couldn’t find a soul, there wasn’t any sign of the woman either. He walked to the sea and back along the surf wondering what he had seen and whether his house would also be ruined but everything was as he had left it.

The man who thought he had and knew everything realised that he wouldn’t be happy until he found his gift, his talent or his innate qualities and that he would first have to lose everything and endure hardships just like the woman to find out what his gift was. He sold his house by the sea and said goodbye to everyone close to him. In his backpack he took an empty notebook, drawing paper and a flute which he had once gotten from his grandmother. He started looking for the poorest and most dangerous place on earth. There he would write a stunning story, or draw pictures that would touch the core of his being, there he would find the melody that would never be forgotten. But every time he’d been hungry and ill for a while in a shantytown he came up with nothing. Sometimes he’d write a few sentences, fragments but it wasn’t what he was searching for. And the last thing he wanted to do was play his flute. He walked along the shore where the sea had wiped out all the villages and stayed in a city that was bombed every evening, places where civilization had been destroyed. Every time he hoped that his gift would be activated and that he could finally find out what he could do for the world; that would make him happy. He often helped out with the rebuilding or cared for the ill and wounded but he knew that wasn’t the gift he was looking for and moved on.

In the middle of the coldest winter ever, somewhere high in the mountains, after an arduous journey he came to a village which he first thought was deserted. When he put down his backpack and sat down on a snow-covered rock to rest, a small figure wrapped up in an old cowhide came closer. It was a child who looked curiously at him. Now he saw that it was an albino girl with red eyes. She smiled and said the villagers didn’t like strangers. That sometimes they wouldn’t have food for weeks and that there wasn’t water in the winter to wash themselves. Everyone is suspicious of each other and aggressive to everyone who isn’t from the village.

The man realised that this was the place he would stay. He would find the peace here to write poetry, his drawings and his music. Even if it was only one of these three. Even though the girl tried to dissuade him he searched for a place to stay. What she had predicted happened. The men from the village chased him away and when he returned the following day they beat him up with sticks.

The albino girl found him more dead than alive. When it became dark, without anyone seeing it, she took him to a barn on the outskirts of the village. She took care of his wounds and wrapped him in old cow hides against the cold.

The next day he was very weak. He became delirious, fever sweat froze on his face. A day later he died. The albino girl buried him under stones and took his backpack, with the notebook, the sheets of paper and the flute, with her. She left the village never to return again.

Sometimes you can hear her flute in the morning, comforting and pure, a melody you will never forget. She wrote her life story in the notebook. It was published in five hundred languages. Rich and poor people from all over the world read and reread it. They quoted from it as if it was an important religious masterpiece. The few drawings she made of herself were priceless. The man who thought he had and knew everything, that man is forgotten, by everyone except one, who owes him a lot, the albino girl.