“The worst of it was that I saw Sorin wearing orange overalls and with his head shaven, in a video that was delivered to Al-Jazeera (the Arab channel based in Qatar),” says Cristina. “This was a sign that his execution would take place quite soon.”
“I asked God for only one thing: to die with a bullet in the heart. I had already seen videos of prisoners being decapitated; I asked, begged to be shot,” adds Sorin.
Andrea gives him a kiss. He smiles, asks if I want to stay in that restaurant or if we should go to the only karaoke in Sibiu. I prefer to interrupt the conversation at that point – it was better to go and sing together. Our group gets up, I try to pay the bill but it was “on the house” in homage to the local hero, he who had survived in spite of everything.
On the way to the discotheque, I think about the black tunnel: without wanting to romanticize a dramatic situation, I fell that this happens to everyone. When we are faced with something that really threatens us, it is impossible to look around, although this is the correct and safer procedure. We can’t see clearly, use logic, gather information that can help us and those who try to get us out of that situation. In love and in war we are human, thank God.
We reach the karaoke, drink some more, sing Elvis, Madonna and Ray Charles. Ours is an interesting group: Lacrima, who was abandoned by her mother when she was only two months old. Leonardo, who has just got over a depression that lasted two years. Cristina Topescu, who recently overcame difficult moments. Sorin and his 55 days in captivity, and Andrea, who almost lost the person she loved. And me, with scars all over my body and soul.
And even so we drank, sang and celebrated life. To have friends like these gives me more than hope, it makes me understand that the true survivors will never be victims to their torturers, because they manage to keep alive the most important thing in human beings: joy.
And where there is joy after tragedy, there will always be an example to be followed.
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