17.2.13

The Released Man


After serving forty long years in jail he was finally free. He breathed deeply. The air smelled good. It was a Sunday morning in April. Nobody was waiting for him. He wandered around, watching the flight of the birds, staring at the horizon, enjoying his regained freedom. After a while he sat under a blossom cherry tree and he felt he was the happiest man on earth. “What a quiet place. It seems like a dream!”–he said to himself smiling. “I could remain here forever, but I should leave. It’s time to live up.” 

As soon as the man arrived in the city, he met a lot of people shouting in front of a bank: “Kill yourself, banker, we won’t pay the debt!” He got close to a beautiful young blonde woman who was holding a poster in which these same words were written. The astonished man asked her: “Please, could you explain to me what is happening?” The woman answered: “We are protesting against evictions. First, we lost the job and now we will lose the house. We only have our life and dignity. They are the thieves!” The man didn’t understand. “Why are they the thieves?” The woman said: “They fooled us into believing that our house was more valuable than it really was. Afterwards, the price fell, but the debt didn’t. That’s the big rip-off!” The multitude was getting more and more angry. Then, absolutely puzzled, the man moved away from the crowd and carried on with his walk. 

A few streets further on, the man found another demonstration. In this case, all the people were shouting in front of the headquarters of a political party: “No more corruption! Resignation!” The man instantly realised that the protestors' mood was heating up, spreading like wildfire. “Corrupts, thieves, go to guillotine!” –they were clamouring. Never before had he seen anything like this. Suddenly, the police arrived and began hitting everybody. Very frightened, he ran away and saved his neck. “Phew! What a madness! I am afraid they are fighting a losing battle.” –he exclaimed completely amazed.

Unconsciously, the man left the hubbub of the city and he went back to the blossom cherry tree. He got some rest. Smelling the sweet fragrance of the flowers, he thought: “There are more criminals out of the prison than in it. Forty years later the world hasn’t improved so much. On the contrary, it goes from bad to worse. This society is hopeless! Anyway, it’s better to be free than imprisoned...” 

The man eventually stood up, breathed deeply and, step by step, started off towards the mountains.