Will they come? It’s late, and I’m waiting here alone. Maybe my wife is right. I’m a fool trying to forget the wounds of our recent history. We had survived a war on opposite sides. Too much blood and cruelty have torn us apart.

We were just kids when we played together, unaware of the tensions of our elders. We were best friends. In summer, we liked to go to the river and splash each other with the freshwater until we soaked. We all three have a copy of my uncle Anton’s photo of us playing here, happy to be together.

Five years later, the river became a frontline during the war. The south shore was ours, and the north shore was theirs. I prayed every day that my friends were not deployed at the other side of that familiar place because I didn’t want to harm them if we engaged in a fight.

Damn wars among neighbours! Damn wars!

-Ivo! I hear a familiar voice calling my name behind me.

-Ahmed! I’m so happy you answered my call.

-You have changed a lot, he said

-We have become grown men with lots of suffering over our shoulders.

-Yours Ok?

-My brother and his family perished in Vukovar. What about yours?

-They looted my village, and we lost everything. So we fled and had to start from scratch in Sarajevo.

-I want to tell you that when I was a soldier, I always prayed for you and Miro, my best friends. I didn’t want to fight against you. So I would like that Miro was here with us and be all three together again.

-I heard that he is an active extremist. So I don’t have too much hope he will come.

-But here am I! Don’t move an inch, you two, or you are both dead! We heard behind us.

Ahmed and I turned around and saw Miro pocking out from behind a tree, pointing at us with an old AK 47.

-Wait! -Said I- What are you doing? We were friends. The war is over. So we can talk about our differences—no need for more blood.

-Ha, ha, ha! You should see your faces!. This machine is as useless as my head., he said Do you seriously think I would shoot at you?

-We forgot your dark sense of humor, said Ahmed relieved.

-Even darker after all that we have seen those past years, retorted Miro

-Don’t ever play a joke like this on us again, I told him laughing, but still scared.


Author: Olga Brajnović

Journalist and writer. I've worked for 26 years in a newspaper in Spain. I worked for two years as a stringer and correspondent in the US and went as a special envoy to other places like the Balkans. Author of a biography. Sea lover. Avid reader. Classic Music enthusiast.

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