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Reverse (short fiction)

So, I was back to my sheep. The trip in pursue of knowledge did not make me happier or richer or even wiser, as some may add. Perhaps I was not an alchemist and my treasure was not the summa of experiences that transformed me somehow. When reaching the end of the earth and of my patience, I decided to return. In the meantime, my flock forgot about me and so did the girl I was supposed to marry and make a respectable shepherdess of. Only some renowned university fresh graduate told me on a very mystical tone of voice that I was not a loser for choosing to travel, looking for better and the fact that I found nothing concretely was not to diminish me. “In a way, my friend, we are the same, both needy, curious philosophers. The difference is my daddy can pay for my studies and dalliances here, in the city of lights… Oh, sometimes I wish I could go just like you did, starting my life from nothing…” “But I didn't start that way!” I meant to say. I had something good at home, not much, but something that I built with my own hands and took care of. When I left I had more than zero. Now I'm in a dead point, as I have almost nothing left, not even self-respect. I beg my sheep to befriend me again, teach me how to interact with their kind and have a healthy, collaborative relationship. “You aa-are a tra-aitor!” they boohooed. “Imagine… to leave us and our future mistress for going abroad and dating metro sexy damsels, who have nothing else to do but drink, shop and f…k!” And they were right, in their sheepish way. I was aiming high, working 26/24, just to get into their… graces, buying lavish gifts – designer panties – just to be coldly rejected afterwards. Those nymphs expected Jupiter in a box and to try buying their attention with anything less was plain insult. If I'd been smart enough, I would have kept at least few of them (panties, of course) to sell them here, at home and buy a tractor at least. Days were passing by and probably too much stress made me think that roots of civilization were nourished from new waves of perspiration, poured daily by people as myself, vagrants and dreamers of a better place and time. “You are wrong!” decided Forces (represented by all those who sit as a job). They explained politely though, that people like me had slight chances of settling down there. Their main concern was that my kind could simply invade them and eat all the dog food. Saddened by not being able to be ever treated as a priority in this land of bold and gorgeous, no matter how respectfully I persisted and perspired for watering the basis of their blossoming world, I turned my back on dreams I had and promised not to believe any longer in hallucinations, even if they are printed. Selling my pride, I managed to get a ticket back to a forlorn mountain top, where children, bored with watching over their sheep grazing peacefully, kept taking drugs in shape of books about utopias, borrowed from a local library, where milk and cheese were also commercialized for tourists, those erudites that never cease wondering about the wilderness up there and the possibility of living happily ever after in such a natural habitat, much too natural for modern souls. The thing is I felt alone and empty and that did not matter in Time's agenda. Others have tried the same thing, lost the past, but got a future instead. Very few managed to find treasures both at home and far away, so their only concern nowadays was bilocation. Still, being here, back, safe from any further knowledge and surprises, fake hopes and misleading desires, I know life has to go on, shepherdess or no shepherdess. I am the master and no matter how arrogant sheep seem for the moment, they'd get to behave “comme il faut” in time, at least for the reason that most people up here are unsatisfied and tempted to go for change, believing anything can be more rewarding than owning a herd that follows your footsteps.

Copyright © Katiusha Cuculescu, 2004