He is lying in bed, motionless, waiting for someone to realize that he’s awake. Her daughter has fallen asleep in a chair at his side. What time is it? He tries to move, but his body is like a bag of sand. He knows he can’t do a thing by himself. But with a lot of effort he get turned a bit. And then he sees them: damn security bars. More effort and grabs one with his hand. The noise wakes up her daughter.

– What do you need, dad?
– Nothing, keep sleeping.
– Not, tell me what you want.
– Be out of here.

He knows he is in his home in his bedroom, surrounded by his loved ones, but the mere vision from the security bars of the bed transports him to his youth, when he was a prisoner of conscience, to the tortures, interrogations, the unbearable hunger, the misery of those horrible months.

– Don’t worry, I’ll get you out of bed.

But now, before the liberation from his enclosed bed to the relative freedom of the wheelchair, comes the worst. The metallic noise from the security bars: clank! clank!.

His daughter removes them happily, with energy Regardless of the noise. But for the is a torture. By his sweet face passes the shadow of an old immeasurable pain. To his mind reaches the echo of the sound of the doors that had him locked up in inhumane conditions in a prison camp during the WWII, the yelling, the blows, the sufferings experienced behind that bars, the faces of his dead friends. Sounds and images that come to his mind with an impressive vividness. Clank! Clank!: Leave out all hopes.

Seeing his face, his daughter thinks that anything hurts him and puts all his effort and his love to take care of him with tender hands. She helps him out of bed, cleans him, serves him his breakfast, takes him in the wheelchair to the other room, entertains him, and gives him everything he needs. And they have a relatively good day. A very long day.

It’s easy. For others. Not so much for him. He never complains about his illness. He decided to do so long ago. He even makes jokes about his helpless situation, but inside is suffering seeing himself  absolutely at the mercy of others and absorbing so much time and work from his wife and his daughters. He has always been good making jokes and he enjoys occupying his mind thinking in the next one. His mind. He prays to God to never lose his mind, despite sometimes is hard to realise his helpless situation. But he can do a lot of things with his mind, above all show every day his love to his wife of 56 years and talk with his children and friends. Now he loves having smiles around him instead of sad faces or compassionate looks. That’s why he is always making jokes. 

But when it comes time to go to bed, it’s also time to put the bars again. Clank! Clank! The same expression of profound pain, the same images rushing into his mind and finally the only complaint expressed aloud: Why do you keep me a prisoner?

Then, the daughter understands a little, for the first time in months, the extent of his father’s inner pain.

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12 thoughts on “The prisoner

  1. Pingback: Sole Mates. |
  2. runningbrook777 says:

    I really enjoyed your story, pain and all. I work as a hospital chaplain and at times have met veterans with disabilities, illnesses and PTSD. I appreciate your insight and awareness.

    1. Olga Brajnović says:

      Thank you. Coming from you is a great compliment. The story is real. It was an impressive experience for me.It helped me understand a little more my dad and it’s engraved in my heart.

    1. Olga Brajnović says:

      Thank you. I’m glad you liked. Is your grandfather OK?

    1. Olga Brajnović says:

      Thank you. I’m glad you liked it so much.


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