• Vol. 01
  • Chapter 06
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The Lone Guardian

He stands there, in silence, honouring his self-appointed task. He wears tattered clothes, his tired eyes never sleep. They intently stare at the invisible line that decades ago men in black suits drew on a map while drinking fragrant tea that travelled the oceans in puffing steamers.

The lone guardian never moves, he worries that in the split second of his absence the line may shift, or worse disappear thus depriving him of the very meaning of his existence.

He was caught as a child in a buffer as men with rulers traced the straight line that parted two countries, divided families and appointed enemies. He was caught in the middle, on the line, where would he go? He was too young to choose, too lonely to understand: he did not know and opted to stay.

He decided to inhabit the line he could not see and found himself neither there nor here. It was an act of faith, he trusted the invisible and he is now its lone guardian. And so he walks on a split horizon. Each ear is tuned on the slightly different inflections of what are now two separate languages. Each eye focuses on a minor declination of what have now to be considered separate landscapes. He is in both sides, but belongs to neither.

His stooping shoulders have endured years of insults. He fears trespassing, the challenges to the unseen authority, the dreadful possibility of mixing and exchanging. “The line is clean and clear”, he thinks. Its reassuring straightness is comforting so much so that he can forget its arbitrariness.

He knows that eyes he does not know are watching him as he watches the line. He knows he is not alone. He knows that, if nobody else, at least those eyes love him. And so he stands. In silence. And lets the wind blow dirt on his shoes even if dirt comes from either side of the border.