The Crimson Glow of Spring
After the war of 1812 between the countries of the Third Coalition and France,
people’s lives changed dramatically. Cities and villages were destroyed, most
people lost their families and everything was utterly devastated. It affected
mostly peaceful people who were forced to sag under the oppression of the
monarchical system. These people were forced to work to feed their families
and themselves during these hard and challenging times. Maybe, in the case of
Napoleon Bonaparte winning the war, everything would absolutely have been
different. However, it was only the desire and predictions of people who were
tired of carrying the heavy burden of their destiny.
‘After being recruited to the army, I injured my leg, and as a result it was
impossible for me to participate in the war any further. The doctor in the
hospital where I spent five months, advised me to leave the army and to attempt
to find a safe place so as not to encounter problems with the government. He
recommended a village one hundred kilometres away from our city, and I chose
to move there.
After two weeks, I received a generous settlement because of my injury, and I
came to this village where I rented a house from an elderly woman living next
door to me. Mrs. Duran was a very nice lady. She always smiled, but I quipped
that every time it was a fake smile. It was really easy to see that her eyes were
full of sorrow, like eyes of people who had lost something or someone
indispensable to them. Actually, the war took her family from her. The first
thing that I noticed was that people there were not like the ones in the city.
There was no fuss. Everything was moving so smoothly, and it was so easy to
become lulled and to feel relaxed. Most of the houses were destroyed and
looked like the ones in this village as if they had also experienced numerous
skirmishes. The next day, after unpacking my boxes, I decided to go to the
bazaar to look for clothing and furniture.
The people at the bazaar were not satisfied with their work. Because of the
aftermath of the war, nothing was affordable for the average person on the
street. Making my way to the bazaar, it was natural to come across homeless
people who had lost their families during the war. Seeing them always made me
thoughtful, but I tried to pass them as quickly as possible.
At the end of the day, walking home on the road which was snaking along the
hill, I encountered an interesting situation. A boy was sitting on the edge of a
cliff observing the sunset. I saw that in his hands he had a crumpled sheet of
paper on which he tried to draw something. The sky was decked out in a variety
of different colours, with each separate color arranged into more shades all
creating numerous matching layers. The birds were flying from the top to the
bottom, circling in flocks generating a feeling that nature was presenting us with
a new show, a show of spring. This dazzling spectacle lasted for about 2-3
minutes, but I tried to imagine it again and again throughout the remaining
stretch of the path on the way home. I had never thought that there I could face
this kind of sightly and handsome landscapes, and it really surprised me.’
The track on the watch exceeded 6 pm. It was a time when most people left their
jobs to go home. There was a thick curtain, saturated with the smell of smoke,
as if on the battlefield, and only the silhouettes of people who wandered
carelessly through the streets were faintly visible. Such a situation created a
feeling of apathy when a person did not know what he wanted from life, and
whether what he was doing at that moment was right. Put off by this appalling
weather, I had no desire to go out and investigate new things in this village. It
was weird that the face of the boy that I had met earlier, always came to mind. It
was hard for me to recall his appearance. He had a feature that I had never seen
before. After this evening, I decided to find and meet up with him.
Nobody was at home except for Pierre who was just sitting on his chair and
thinking about something special.
The room smelled damp and stale. Actually, it was impossible to stay in
conditions such as these, but not for Pierre. The reason why he got himself into
a situation like this, was his family. His father, whose name was Frederick, 45
years old, had been the underdog all his life. After the war, he was discharged
from the army because of drinking alcohol excessively. He became a real
alcoholic. The family had no money to pay for their accommodation, and the
war also affected their circumstances negatively. Pierre’s mother was a simple
seamstress, and her salary was not enough to provide for the whole family.
Every day, Pierre witnessed a lot of scandals between his parents and was
powerless to do anything.
His hobby was drawing, and this seemed peculiar to others. His drawings were
unusual. He did not draw any landscapes or portraits, and the only thing that a
person could observe from his pictures were lines that originated from the circle
in the middle. After the war, all children older than 13 tried to help their parents
to earn some money, and they had no time to play as normal teenagers.
However, Pierre was not like the others. The way he thought and behaved made
him an outcast to others. His mother, whose name was Maria, had no
appreciation for his antics, and she used to remark:
“You are wasting your time for nothing! Help me to carry the hay!”
Pierre always tried to obey his mother as much as he could, but the desire to
draw sometimes was inescapable. Because of this urge, he was allegedly beaten
by his father. Pierre used to be beaten and would then just focus on other things.
He never said anything and continued being polite and respectful towards his
father. He felt out of place in this world, like an alien, being in a dream and
thinking about something, and this made it difficult for others to understand
him. He was not understood by anyone in this world, so it was better for him to
live a life, a life of fiction in his mind.
‘I woke up in a sweat. The night was rough, and I had not slept well. I had a
dream, but I could not remember what it was about. I got up quickly, and after
having breakfast, I started to think about what kind of job would be ideal for
me. After getting dressed, I decided to inquire about a vacancy. I left home, and
Mrs. Duran promised to help me in my search. She suggested I explore the
village further, since I had not seen a lot of beautiful places in it. I listened to
her and proceeded to venture around.
I saw a house at the end of the cobblestone road, and the only way to continue
walking in its direction was to navigate through a patch of grass. I did not notice
it the day before, maybe because of the blackness of the night. The
old-fashioned house looked like an asylum for refugees, and from the looks of it
was in desperate need of some renovation. There was a tall tree near the house.
It was in excess of nine meters. It was truly beautiful, like trees that bloom in
the spring. Seeing the two controversial and glorious entities juxtaposed,
namely the old house and the tree, induced some questions, and I got passionate
about the family who was living there.
To the left of the house there was a cliff, and I clearly remembered that the boy
was sitting there yesterday. I saw him again, and I wanted to get to know him
better. I sat down near to him and tried to speak:
– Today has once again been breathtakingly beautiful. As I noticed, you sit
here every evening. Do you like the view?
– I … I love it so MUCH! It helps me to … it helps me to draw!
– Do you live there?
– Yes, since I was born.
– What is your name?
– My name … My name is Pierre!
– Nice to meet you, Pierre.
– It is so AWESOME. What is your name?
– You can call me Alain. Pierre, do you want to hang out somewhere?
– I LIKE this idea.
Honestly, I do not remember how much time we spent together that day. He was
interested in talking about his life, describing the beauty of the place where he
was living and the people who were surrounding him. I noticed a lot from the
people while we were travelling. I came to the logical conclusion that people
hated him. They hated him for not being like the others. However, what could
he do to become like everyone else, yet another nameless cog? The gorgeous
evening reached its end, and I went to sleep with a lot of unanswered questions.’
Sometimes, life is not as fair as it should be. Some people are merely content to
be alive, without concern about anything else, whereas others are unsettled
because of small problems. One month later, Pierre lost his parents. In his
drunkenness, his father had murdered his mother and then committed suicide.
For the first time Pierre did not understand anything, but later a stranger
explained everything to him. The whole world had turned against him, but not
his new friend.
‘On a cloudy day, there was a crack in the clouds, and the sun started to come
out. I heard someone knocking on my door. I opened the door and saw Mrs.
Duran. She looked worried, and I immediately grasped that something had
-Pierre’s parents died …
The only thing that I remembered was the sound of the cup which I had held in
my hands and that it dropped to the floor. I was devastated … I had never
thought that this kind of incident could take place … The silence between us
enhanced the tension. After being paralysed for a few minutes, I decided that it
could not continue like this. I quickly took my sweater and ran in the direction
of their house. I hoped, I hoped like a child that it was not the truth, that it was a
simple frightening nightmare.
I entered the house and saw him sitting on the chair. He looked sad, very sad. I
said nothing to him, because I had nothing to say … I just stood next to him and
tried to support him mentally … I thought that it was not right to leave him there
I felt like I could help him to forget about everything bad and make him
understand what it meant to have a carefree childhood. He was a very handsome
person, and with all my heart I wanted to share with him the warmth of a family
that he fully deserved.
‘One day, we were sitting together on the edge of a cliff, and I observed the way
he tried to draw, looking to the sky. His eyes were shining like stars at night,
and I had never seen anything like this. He was one of those children, a rare
kind, that were always dreaming about something. Experiencing a war during
childhood undoubtedly would negatively affect everyone. His love of drawing
helped him to express his feelings, to show the world that he was a person of
our society and nothing differentiated him from others. The skyline looked
spectacular that day. On that day in particular, I promised myself to care and
always support him.
– The crimson glow of spring.
– Crimson … Crimson glow?
– I named it like this. One of the most beautiful processes I had ever come
across in my life, being so far and so close to the sun which emits the
lights with the same shade. They reflect from the river, and this very same
reflection converges to create a stunning spectre. Collecting every feature
together presents a picture that you are drawing now. You have a special
talent, my dear friend.
I saw a smile on his face, and it was real happiness. If this was not him
rejoicing, then what was it?
Notes of author:
Nowadays, in some societies people are ostracised for thinking and behaving
differently from what other people regard as the norm. Pierre was a simple boy
who had the same wishes and feelings as others. When we say that all human
beings are born free and equal in dignity, we mean that we are all the same and
we all have the same rights according to every little detail in life. Being
respectful is the best way for society to get rid of this problem, and I hope that
one day we will reach it together.