The Elders

With a cold, mechanic movement she rearranges the blankets and puts the dirty dipper in the garbage can; she gives me a dry smile and leaves the room. They have four shifts, four different people feed me, clean me and give me my medicine; they are the only youngsters that visit me.

I count the days and wait for death to come and take me; my old body can hardly move and the pains come but the medicine keeps them under control, what is unbearable is the solitude.

It was not always like this; when I was young I used to go upstairs to my grandfather’s room and I would seat there for hours and listen to his stories with the other kids; he told us many things about the universe and the ways of nature.

Before he got the same disease that afflicts me and was forced to be on that bed, he belonged to the consulate of the wise, the highest authority at that time. All decisions that affected my town were taken by the consulate by consensus; age was the only requisite to be part of it.

I remember how other children would go behind me playing the games I devised and followed the rules I invented. As I grew up, my skills to lead and mobilize others grew as well; on my late twenties I had become a very influential and successful merchant.

It was at that time when the foreigners came; they brought with them powerful artifacts and they expressed their interests in exchanging them for my merchandize. Being a matter that would affect all of us, I went with the foreigners’ proposal to the consulate; I explained to them how we would benefit with the new artifacts. To my surprise they refused to accept them; they claimed that it would harm our ways.

Outraged, I told them they were old fools, that they were the ones destroying our society by preventing progress; it was not fair for the young to live by the law of the old and outdated. The following night with the help of the foreigners and their artifacts we burned down the temple of the wise and expelled the elders.

We expanded and conquered other towns; we grew in the next decades more than in the previous five hundred years. The youth ruled and the new system flourished.

The decisions I made and imposed on others were the ones that favored me; I used my power to help others as long as it was advantageous for my enterprise, I simply followed the natural law where the big fish swallows the small without compassion.

As time went by and I grew older, younger and more ambitious merchants said that I had become an obstacle for progress.

At the first symptoms of my illness my son, who learned my ways from me, interned me in this shelter for the elder. That was the last day I saw him and my grand daughter.

I regret that what I have learned through my mistakes will never be heard. I know that my days are counted and all I want for my son and his daughter is their well being, but this society I have created based on war and greed will never bring them fairness and peace.