The Crimson Glow of Spring

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:

– Hi.

– Hallo.

– 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?

The end.

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.

Asparukh Sultanmurat