Erin grew and became a silent baby. She would sit and look, just look where there was nothing to see…and she used to laugh, for hours. Her mother was worried with her daughter’s way of acting. She took her to the doctor, he convince her the child was all right.
The years run fast and soon Erin was 15; and her behaviour continued the same way. She still used to sit and look nowhere, to anybody, to anything. She was a clever, shiny child; she was pretty good at school, and had some friends, but was still silent, and loved to be alone. And still laughed, alone.
Her mother used to cry thinking that her baby wasn’t all right, that something was really wrong with her. But at last, her anxiety decreed and she understood her baby liked to be alone, that she was happy living that way.
Erin never guessed her mother’s suffering. She used to go downstairs, sat on a cushion on the floor and waited. Waited for him to appear.
He lived there. He had lived there for centuries, ever in the dark, ever alone. People come, and people went, but no one stayed.
And then, one stormy day, something happened; two woman hurried into his place and stayed, crying, praying, and then, the child, that little whimpering thing that appeared suddenly and looked at him! And saw him. Oh, it was the happiest day in his whole life! Someone that could see him, at last!
But, when the storm ended, more people came and took the women and the baby away.
Suddenly he felt he was alone. And the cellar was empty and cold as never before has been.
He could hear them walking on the wood floor, the women’s voices and songs and …the baby’s cry. He attempted to walk upstairs…but he wasn’t able to leave the cellar, he had never been. His life had elapsed always alone, always dark, always cold and always sour. It did not matter, until the baby was born.
Every day he could hear the baby crying and it hurt him on his new-founded feelings. It seemed there wasn’t any way to solve it, but he needed to see the baby, to talk with her, to hear her laughing.
So, one day, he decided to challenge his fate and rush to the daylight. And he succeeded in it. At first the sunlight hurt his eyes, but it was nothing compared with the joy he felt seeing Erin again. And Erin looked at him like she did on her first day and she laughed.
As time passed by, Erin grew up. He sat by her side and talked with her. He knew what she thought only by looking into her eyes, so she did. He told her old stories about fairies and wolves, witches and wizards, sad maids and talking trees, brave knights and white horses. But he told her also tales about plain people, how hard must they work to survive, how they lived and how they died and no one stayed who can remember them, no one but him. And she, lost in the world he drew only for her, listened his words.
And years come, and years went, and Erin grew up. She became a pretty, clever and happy woman. She was still silent, she shared with him her life and it was enough for her. However, he was worried. He knew she had only the time of a mortal life to stay on Earth, and it seemed too short.
And it was too sad thinking that one day she will…die, and he will be alone again. And she will go without knowing all the things to know, without loving a real man, without feeling the sensation of taking a new life into this world.
So he decided to speak seriously with her, ask her to live her own life, to speak with her own kind. But she refused. She cried when he suggested it. She didn’t like her own kind. They were liars, they were like closed boxes, and she couldn’t know what was in. With him it has been different from the very beginning because she could feel what he felt. And it was nothing compared with it within her own kind. So he surrendered, and stopped in his crusade.
And life followed her path, and Erin was suddenly an elder. She was still good-looking and healthy. She lived at the same place and used to sit on the same chair on the garden, under the maple tree. Her laugh went on as clear as when she was a little child.
It happened one afternoon at the beginning of the fall. The maple leaves were redder than ever, and Erin got asleep in her chair under the maple’s shadow. A sheet of white clouds covered the sky and the rain began to fall down in the twinkling of an eye.
When Erin woke up she was soaked. She ran to the house to protect her from the cold rain. The day after she had a bad cold. It went worse and worse. A week later she was dead.
He had never felt such a sensation of loss. Something inside of him became then like a stone and an icy cold come from it, painting the world in grey. The sunlight was hateful, the birds’ songs sounded like a shriek, and he couldn’t stand the sound of a human voice when he realised Erin had gone forever. So he went downstairs, silent, sad, little and sat on the dark. And he was fine there, if his heart was then dark and dead, here was the place where he had to hide.
The time has another rhythm when there is no light. There isn’t any way of knowing how many years has passed if you only sit on the dark and you live forever.
Sometimes he thought that he heard her laugh. Sometimes he heard her little childish feet running on the wood floor. Sometimes when he opened his eyes, for a little while, he thought he was seeing her.
Life is sad when you live alone, but is sadder when you have known how full a shared life can be, and you have lost it.
At last he didn’t hear anything, didn’t see anything, didn’t feel anything. He became some kind of statue. He was not feeling anything, anymore.
One autumn day a huge storm rushed over the house; he didn’t move. A lightning crushed the maple tree; he continued still there. A big deal of water ran downstairs but he didn’t react at all. At last, the storm crushed the house and the cellar collapsed. But he stayed there, like a part of the broken basement, covered with pieces of stone and wood. And the rain, falling down, drew tears on his still face.
2001 EOI Lleida