A Dream That Would Not End (Act I)

The young girls had been playing on the street corner, lingering in the warm spring sunshine as they made their way home from school. Life was just beginning to return to a semblance of normalcy bosniafollowing the bloody Bosnian-Serb Civil War. The school had opened for the first time since the end of the war in Sokolac, a small town on the outskirts of Sarajevo. For most, returning to school was something to look forward too; a return to something that felt concrete, something that felt as if life would finally begin again. Many had yet to heal, physically and emotionally from the brutal conflict that left most of the country in total destruction. And so it was, with the young seventeen year old Kerima.

Kerima was tall for her age and strikingly beautiful. She was slender and carried herself in a mature manner, placing her demeanor well beyond her youthfulness. It was this mannerism which singled her out to the onlooker, who was passing by in the chauffeured officer’s car. Colonel Dimitri Dogov was a retired officer of the Serbian army, having commanded troops in and around Sarajevo. He was living alone, like so many in this war torn region. He lost his entire family to artillery shells one afternoon while he was away serving his country. He lost everything in the blink of an eye; all that he fought for had been taken away. A shell of a man, he continued on like the others, but when the war ended, his life seemed near its end. So it was on the bright spring afternoon when he saw the beautiful young lady amongst girls on the street corner, his heart skipped a beat; a flicker of life returned to the gray soul of despair.

“Stop the car!” he demanded of the driver. Fearful something bad was about to happen, the paid driver slammed on the breaks. The screech of rubber on the road caught the attention of the youth; all looked in the car’s direction.

Dimitri shyly lowered the window half way, peering over the tinted glass, his face partly obscured by the dark tinting. The girls collectively were fearful that they had done something wrong and were about to run when Dimitri called out to them.

“Hello, can you please help me,” he shouted as he rolled the window all the way down, calling out to them trying to relieve their fears, “We are a bit lost and need some directions.” He of course was lying but wanted to calm the nerves of the frightful youth that stood before him. Most of the girls were Kerima’s age or younger. None looked as mature as her, which is why he felt compelled to call to her directly.

“You, young lady in the pretty purple shawl,” he said now pointing toward Kerima, “Please come closer so we might speak to you without having to shout.”

Kerima realized this was an official, in what capacity he was here she did not realize, but with her covey of friends behind her she boldly stepped toward the car. Standing there, she could see herself in the reflection of the shiny black exterior. She looked awkward, stretched as if her body was out of proportion. Her head scarf had slipped behind her head now exposing her long brown hair that she kept in place with braids. She bent slightly toward the man, whom she could now see was obviously someone of wealth or position. He wore a dark gray suit and tie, his hair was neatly trimmed and was graying at the sides, while thinning on top. He looked to be in his mid to late forties, but then again, the war aged people, so his true age might be even younger.

“Where are you going,” she asked, while placing an outstretched hand on the car, balancing herself as she stood on one foot.

“We are headed into Sarajevo and must have gotten turned around somewhere at the last crossroads. There were no signs so we were trying to remember from past trips which way to go.”

“Oh,” Kerima replied, now somewhat relieved to hear he really was asking directions.

She pointed in the direction of the road to their left and said, “Follow this street up for two blocks then take a left. That is the road to Sarajevo, as far as I know.”

[Look for Act II to continue the story…]

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