My father – who’s a writer too and a very charismatic individual – had many friends, friends who only exist in books, for I thought life did not host such characters. A couple of years ago I met the most distinguished of them all.
He was too kind, and quite funny. We had the routine gathering, we ate, drank, laughed, and eventually he left, a little early, he needed to prepare his bags for his flight back to Sweden, where he resides right now.
My father sat down, looked at me, and then he smiled. ‘Do you know that this man is not supposed to be alive?’ he said, a shocking statement, my jaw dropped. ‘Why?’ came the logical and curious question. So he told me his story.
There was a young girl who lived in his city in Iraq, she fell in love with a man, they got intimate, and the teen’s worst nightmare happened, she got pregnant. The man fled the city. ‘Things were bad then’ my father told me. Her mother knew that her daughter might get hurt, or maybe even killed if some specific people found out. She went to the only kind man she relies on, my father’s friend. He was rich, and resourceful. He provided them with a new place in a new city, and he forged a marriage license and a death certificate for an imaginary husband. The mother got a new job, and the daughter got to keep her baby, and her future.
20 years later, my father’s friend found him self targeted by the ruling political party, he tried to run through the border… he got caught. They assigned a man to drive him back to his city. The young man asked ‘Why are you running away? What awaits you back home?’ ‘The rope’ he answered. The young man stopped and went back to the border, he waited until there was a change in the shifts, and then he smuggled him across. He learned his name, but my father’s friend told him that for his own sake, he won’t tell him his name.
Now, here’s the interesting part… more interesting than the previous drama? Yes.
He met a friend of his two weeks later, and he told him of what had happened. The man he met knew who that young man who helped him was. The revelation shocked him. He was the son of the woman who he had helped long ago, the young man saved his life, exactly like he had saved his before he was born.
I remembered that story because I talked to my father today, to tell him that I’ll be back next week. I missed the times were we sat together and tell stories. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why I became a writer. I guess life has a way to course us without us knowing… exactly like it coursed my father’s friend away from his end. He avoided a dark fate by a path built from a kind deed.