Resource Moon 16F

I can’t believe I finally found some sheets of paper. How long had I been looking for this, how often had I given up the search again. There are enough writing tools here. The dowel, for example, the beautiful wooden dowel that lay on the threshold of the dining container a few weeks ago. It’s just an ordinary dowel for the pushers, but for me it’s the best quill I could hope for in a place like this. I’ve sharpened it with a metal part and now, as I write, my sore, shaky fingers curl around it like a salutary amulet. There are colors too, although our eyes no longer perceive them as such. Spilled lubricating oil, damp dirt, rust, blood. Colors of misery and suffering, colors nonetheless.

But paper … It was a daydream, one that came true. I found it last night, but only today do I have the courage to write. There it was, in the corner of the laundry container, next to the excrement-stained privies. The picker who was supposed to monitor me did not take notice of it, but for me it shone like a sacred object, like the magic lamp in this old terrestrial fairy tale.

Some sheets of soft, pliable paper, with a color somewhere between yellow and grey and currently too wet to write properly on it – the color starts running as soon as it touches the paper. But I digress, for I write of obvious and irrelevant things. I have to be frugal, there are a only a few sheets of paper, so few, but it feels so good to just write what goes through my head. Get a hold of yourself, Lorraine, this is not meant to be the pointless doodle of an old prisoner, nor a meticulous account of what we go through every day, since I do not want those horrible things to be put on paper. No, I want to write poetry, and a few little anecdotes. After all, I’m a poet, a raconteur, even here as a prisoner on Resource Moon 16F. I’ll start writing tomorrow, or the day after, or whenever the muse will kiss me.

The inspiration simply is not coming, now that I have the means to put it on paper. Oh, the irony … Game and amusement of the higher powers.

It is night, it will always be night when I write. Never will I write as the daylight illuminates my paper and this thought depresses me. The man in the bed above me murmurs his prayers, as usual at this time of the day. He and I are always the last ones to fall asleep. His sawdust mattress has a hole in it and every time he crosses himself, flakes of wood trickle down on me, reminding me that it will soon start to snow. His irrepressible belief in God fascinates me. Gods die, when no one believes in them, one of my ancestors once said. The man in the holey mattress keeps God alive for us, we should thank him.

The muse was not there yet, the poems will have to wait, instead I want to write about a young man from my brigade. Arendt is his name and he was a good friend from the start. One who reaches out to you if you slip in the dirt and shares his last piece of bread with you. A good comrade, a noble soul. Yes, he could almost be my son or brother, though in spirit only, since he does not look one bit like the ugly guy I am. But what do things like blood relationship count, here, on this godless celestial body? I would never talk openly in this manner about him, he would smile at me – yes, he has not yet forgotten to smile – and call me a soppy old man. However, I think it is not necessary to enunciate everything between two kindred souls.
But I must say I misjudged him in one way. At the beginning, he seemed to me like someone who would endure it all with pretended nonchalance – carrying out the slave work with one hand, while scribbling a joke on the wall with the other. Counting the days until the end of the war, reasonable and rational.
But as it turned out, there’s more than just a spark of thoughtlessness and impulsiveness in him. Now he’s shoveling his own grave, and I do not know if it’s too late for me to knock the shovel out of his hand, grab him by the shoulders and shake those ideas out of him. As of late he is talking of escape, nothing but escape. In the early morning he starts, and at night, in the sleeping container, he continues trying to convince the others of his plan – with an obsession in his whispered words that scares me. His escape plan bears witness to ingenuity and a bright mind. I already regret it, but I let him explain it to me in every detail. Not because I think of joining him. No, because it gives him such pleasure to tell about it because his eyes light up, like those of the children on Galenic Independence Day, when they admire the fireworks and colorful flags. Even now I hear him whispering, laying out his plan in front of the others, who listen to his words half fascinated, half repelled. Sooner or later someone will betray him, Bashar or this snake Roslyn.
[to be continued]

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