by Mileva Anastasiadou
She’d never forget that day, that glorious day of protest, a joyful day at first, as joyful days are when change is around the corner. She’d never forget his hand in hers, the warmth of his words when he told her, they can’t beat us, we have the power, and she believed him for they were among the people, they were down in the streets, fighting together, fighting oppression.
She’d never forget the dove on the fence, a white dove, she thinks, a symbol of hope, that flew away, above their heads, until the hunter shot it down and the dove turned red, covered in blood, that dripped from the sky, onto her head, or it could be a woman, shot dead, she can’t be sure.
She’d never forget that day, that glorious day of uprising, a beautiful day indeed, as beautiful are days when people come together. She’d never forget the ring he gave her when he told her, they can’t beat us, we’ll live forever, the ring she’d always keep on her finger and her children would ask about it years later and she’d say it was a present, a gift from a friend.
She’d never forget the elephant that crawled beside her, that broke the gate, oblivious to whom stood in front of him, or it was a tank, she can’t be sure, that rolled over dead bodies.
She’d never forget that day, that glorious day of changes, a strange day indeed, as strange are days when hope turns into exhilaration. She’d never forget the warmth of his voice, his hand sliding through her hair, his eyes staring at her eyes, his bold, demanding eyes, as he told her, they can’t beat us, we are together, and she nodded and took courage, his soothing, comforting heartbeat was all she heard, among screams and shouting and gunshots, the air heavy with hope and despair, but they’d stand afloat, happily ever after, in a different world, in which dreams were possible.
She’d never forget the colibri that attacked him. She’d heard of hummingbirds attacking eyes, it was a myth, yet it seemed believable, or it could be a bullet from a sniper, straight into his eyes, right into his brain.
She’d never forget the baby crying, that noise coming from a cab, a new life wandering into this world, the urgency of the crying, and she wanted to cry too, but she yelled instead, for she could not believe her eyes, her ears, her senses.
She’d never forget that day, or his words, or any of this, but she’d forget the certainty, the spark in his eyes, the power behind them, his death-defying smile, when he last said, they can’t beat us, for she no longer believes they can’t. She still hears those words, they’re buzzing around her head, but it could be a fly, a gadfly, or some other bug, she can’t tell, she can’t be sure.
Mileva Anastasiadou is a neurologist from Athens, Greece. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart, Best Small Fictions and Best of the Net anthologies and can be found in many journals, such as Jellyfish Review, Gone Lawn, Ellipsis Zine, Litro, Moon Park Review and others. She can be found online at @happymil_ and https://www.facebook.com/milevaanastasiadou/.
Photograph of The Athens Polytechnic Monument covered with flowers to commemorate the anniversary of the uprising students against the Greek junta in 1973, taken on November 17, 2019. RODKARV/Shutterstock.com