I arrived too late…
That was my first thought, seeing the blood stains on the little rocks. Small and round, so they can fit in their little hands. How could such tiny object really kill, really end a life? It wasn’t a good moment…not for me, not for my meditating mood, neither for the tiny bird lying there, on the ground.
-It’s still moving! Look…she’s still moving!
And he grabbed a bigger stone.
-Leave him alone, you’re wasting your time. The bird is dead anyway and he’s nothing but a vandal. Last time someone tried to stop him, you can’t imagine how violent he reacted…that’s probably what he’s seeing at home…By the way, his father is a drunk, an alcoholic and his mother…
I couldn’t hear it anymore. This man, trying to stop me instead of stopping the child from…taking a life…No, it was too much.
-Put down the stone. Please, put it down, now.
-Or else? What? Will you beat me? Will you tell my parents? Will you go to my school and tell my teacher? What?
-Well…you’ll never find out, right? Or, maybe you will…if you put down the stone right now…because I have something for you…
I smiled and used the most gentle tone…still, the suspicion in his eyes was overwhelming.
-Why do you look so surprised? You know what day is today? First of June…The International Children’s Day…this is for you, but please put down the stone so you can take the chocolate…
The chocolate was for my girls…now it was about to serve a greater purpose. He grabbed the chocolate, still holding the stone, very tight in his hand.
-Why are you giving me chocolate?
-Why wouldn’t I?
-Are you a weirdo, from some religious cult? I don’t buy this shit…they tried before…to save my poor little lost soul…
-I wouldn’t even dare to think that your soul is lost! And no…I’m not from any religious cult…I was just passing by and I saw you, the little bird, the people gathered around you, shouting at you…
-So you decided to save the stupid bird! Oh, how noble of you!
-Nope. The bird is already dead. I’m not saving no one.
-So…what? You saw me and you felt pity?
-No. First I felt anger, because the little bird was defenseless in front of you. Then I felt sadness, because I realized there’s nothing I can do…Then I remembered I have a chocolate in my purse so I decided to give it to you.
-I imagined that no one gave you a chocolate today. Was I right?
He looked down. Then, slowly, he let the stone fell on the ground…like he wouldn’t had the strength to hold it anymore.
-Are you happy now? Here…I put it down.
-No, I’m sad.
-Because I killed the bird? I don’t know what got into me, to do so. I’m not saying I’m sorry, don’t imagine…
-I think…maybe…you wanted to feel strong.
-I am strong! Look how strong I am!
He showed me his muscles.
-Wowww…You really are strong! But, you know, you can be very strong and still feel weak. For example, when someone older beats you and no one cares…And that’s only an example…
He looked into my eyes and, for a moment, I saw a sparkle…tears.
-I’m sorry for…before.
-That’s the biggest sign of strength! To say you’re sorry! Now I can see how strong you really are! But…I will tell you a secret: do you know how to become powerful?
-Like a super hero?
-Yes, exactly! Well, by saving a little life, any life…you become a super hero…
I pray he’ll grow up to become…not a super hero…but a decent young man.
I pray that every child in this world would see in the adults around him only protection, care and wisdom.
This is our only chance…