My wirting beginings, year 2003. The story was written for an American professor, that’s why it contains Albanian culture explanations
In September 1999 I began my unforgettable high school life in Gjirokastra, said the stony city, in the south edge of Albania. I can remember quite well the parting day from my village. It was about six o’clock in the morning when my parents, Maksi, my classmate, his parents, and I came to the center of the village, which was the bus station, too. There were a lot of people there who made comments on us, which made us feel good and proud of ourselves because we were the two first pupils from our village to go to study in a high school in a town after about ten years of poor teaching in our school. The most interesting fact about this was that we were going to study in a boarding school, which made it a real curiosity-gnawing new experience.
After exchanging the traditional kisses with our mothers who didn’t save their last wishes and advices even then, we set out for Vlora accompanied by our two male parents and carrying some fully filled with clothes another accessories cases and bags which we thought would be necessary or useful in the dormitory
When we arrived in Vlora, we stayed there for about half an hour waiting our parents to sip their coffees and then we set out again for Gjirokastra. About four hours later, we arrived there. Not knowing anything about the new town and the accommodation in the dorm that night we slept at a hotel named “ Argjiro” after the name of the heroin of the town that threw herself from the castle with her baby in her arms not to fall in the hands of the enemy, after whom the name of the town derives from too.
The next day in the morning, we went to school where I don’t remember what happened exactly, but we found our selves in the dorm at about noon. I can remember there was a great mass.
Finally, we managed to find a place in a room with four older boys and Mentor, our new classmate. Therefore, we were seven people in a 10m2 room, but we were lucky because most rooms were eight people each, which was the limit.
However, we didn’t get that well with the older boys so that after about two months they moved to another room and three other older boys and Fation, our classmate, came to our room. What related us expect this was the fact that he was from Vlora too and this kind of relation there was very evident. Students from different districts had their “dynasty”. We organized all the moving. None cared about anything there. There was a big anarchy.
So, we spent a beautiful year of difficulties together Maksi, Fation, Mentor and I. We were just children aged 14-15 and none to get support from expect ourselves. We learned to do things we had never done before, as washing clothes, tidying the room, arranging the bed, taking care of ourselves, which for me was something new because my sister had taken care of me until then. Our relationship grew stronger and stronger and it was then when I realized that difficulties bring people closer. However, the first year of high school passed very fast and unconsciously we found ourselves in the second year.
In the second year, there happened some changes. Fation rented a house with Odise, another friend of ours, and Klaidi, a boy from his own village, as they found it difficult to study in the dorm which was true. There was much noise and confusion. It’s what teenagers do when they get to full freedom.
Maksi and I got a room in the dormitory again but we didn’t stay long too, only the first two-month time, which served as a means to persuade our parents, who thought we couldn’t well-administrate our time and little money if we rent a house. Finally, we too rented a house with two other boys from the first year. They were from Vlora, too.
We had very good relations with Fation and his roommates and exchanged visits regularly until one day. I don’t remember exactly when, but I guess it was four months after the school had began that we argued.
It was time the Sun had just hidden its fiery self after the mountain leaving after it a red specter, which reflected on the clouds upon it and made the top of the mountain seem like a torch. Fation and his roommates had paid us a visit and they were just leaving. We were accompanying them to the gate of the house speaking to each other. I cannot remember exactly what about, but I do remember quite well that the circumstances made Maksi hit Klajdi. Fation criticized Maksi for that with a quite angry frown on his face. On the other hand, I found Fation’s reasoning unreasonable and criticized him for his criticism towards Maksi and we had a good hot argument (we only exchanged words). Then they left. This argument was the beginning of a three-month long non-speaking period between Fation and Klaidi to Maksi and me.
In Albania, usually when two or more people argue they don’t speak to each other as a sing of having no relationship and interest in the other, kind of underestimation. That was a really boring but regretful period. I was sorry for what had happened because I didn’t use to argue with my close friends.
It was February 4, 2001, my sixteen birthday when everything changed. It was nighttime. I had decided to celebrate my birthday so I had made some preparations. Beso, another close friend of ours and we were just about to celebrate when we heard someone knock on the door. I went and opened it and as I predicted, turned out to be Fation and his roommates. I felt something indescribable inside me at that moment. The adrenaline began to flow through my veins. I was high even though no sign of marihuana smoke could be found in my lungs. That was a perfect significant surprise. I invited them in, we exchanged kisses, and they gave me their wishes. In Albania, it’s normal to exchange kisses among boys as a sign of good friendship. Then we went all inside.
My friends gave me as a birthday-present a silver bracelet that was doubled with that one which Fation and his roommates brought me, too. The celebration began. That night we spent a great time.
I wore the bracelets for one year, and then I kept them in my wallet. One day I took them out of my wallet and left them in the dormitory and the same day my wallet was stolen but fortunately not the bracelets, which were in a safe place in the dorm.
The bracelets have a significant value for me because my best friends gave them to me and they symbolize the restart of the relations between best friends. Now they decorate my sister’s hands. She is a very special person to me too. She now is away from Albania, in Italy with her family to restart a new life there just as Fation and I restarted our relationship.