Tell me you wont save him! Look into his eyes, now look at me and tell me you don’t want to save him!

I knew this would work eventually…and it did, like so may times before. We were both eight years old, best friends, even more…Stephan was the kind of friend who would have followed me to the moon and back.

-We’re not supposed to be here, Claudia…I’ll get in trouble because of you. And it’s also dangerous…

In a way, he was right. We were not supposed to be there. In the backyard of this abandoned house where the sun never seemed to shine. It was always dark, always shadowed, and our parents were very clear…

-You know what? If you’re so afraid, just go! But I wont let him die here! Just look into his eyes…he’s begging us to help him.

The white pigeon was fighting for his life. He was caught in the thick bush and, with every struggle, he got deeper. I raised my hand, trying to reach out to him…

-No, please don’t do that! I heard there are spiders in the bushes! With venom…have you heard of the black widow? A child died after being bitten…don’t touch the bush!

Then you do it…

My tactics didn’t seem to function so I changed my tone…

Stephan…you know you’re the bravest boy I ever known…that’s why I asked you to help me. I could have called Christian…oh, maybe I should have done this…but you’re my best friend, not him…Will you, please, help me? Like a real hero, like Superman…

Reluctantly, he got closer to the bush. Another brave move and the white pigeon was in my arms. Stephan had scratches on his arms and a feeling of victory in his eyes…

-His wing is broken. I’d better take him to my grandfather, he knows how to fix broken wings…

-But…can I see him? He’s my pigeon…can I visit him…? 

-Claudia, I…

-Where were you? And my pigeon? How could you take him away and not telling me anything about him? It’s almost a week since I…since we saved him!

-He’s not…

I’m coming to see him! Where is it? In your room? Give it to me right now!

-I don’t have it anymore…He…died…my grandfather couldn’t fix his wing…and I was grounded for going with you to the abandoned house!

Big tears in my eyes…He died…my white pigeon…

Did you bury him? Can I see…the grave? 

-I did not…It’s not my fault! My grandmother made soup…she said it’s good when you have a cold…and I…

What? You…disgusting cannibal! I hate you! I hope the spiders will catch you and the black widow will eat you! You’re not my friend anymore! You’re nothing but a cannibal!

He tried to explain but I ran. I cried all evening. I heard he cried too…

-Do you remember? You called me “a cannibal” and I was trying to explain that cannibal means something else. God, how I cried that day! I was grounded the whole month, no TV, no games, only school…worse than jail! If you knew how I hated you…

-I was so sorry for the way I treated you. I wanted to apologize, I searched for you but then you left…Do you realize that this happen almost 30 years ago? Look at you, you’re so changed…with your white coat, taking care of all these sick animals…

-I know…I recognized your eyes…the same big green eyes…always a little scared, always a little defiant…

-That’s me, the rebel! So, am I forgiven for calling you a cannibal? Friends…again? Hey, Superman…remember?

He laughed and, for a moment, beyond the serious and professional aspect, beyond the gray hair and the eyeglasses I saw the little boy…

-Well, it’s a long time since anyone called me…Superman… so I guess it’s a good start.

 

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