I’m a bit long in the tooth to get too excited by anther notch on the scythe but today I was treated to a day out and, on the way home, I read an email. I’d won a writing competition. I even won money, and that is certainly a first. Here’s the link and here’s the story.
It starts with grit. An unwanted irritant, inveigling its way inside the shell. Within hours the host has tried to protect itself, by coating the guest. All it does is replace one foreign body with a bigger problem. The guest is adapted to its environment but the relationship is uncomfortable. The host tries to smooth, add an acceptable surface but it is a compromise, a coping mechanism. Gradually it seems less foreign but the accommodation is never comfortable; the defences are still at work, trying to make the grain more like the host, a reflection of it.
And just when the guest and host reach a kind of equilibrium, another, greater problem, a predator appears and the unwanted guest is the prize, the host discarded. The guest is not an irritant but precious, a commodity. But it is not free; just the subject of another unwanted relationship.
Raul turned the pearl in his fingers; he was that pearl. A piece of human grit, washed into Europe’s maw, ground by its machine. An irritant, clothed, fed, educated but always unwanted. A foreign object, gaining knowledge of systems, until one day his value was appreciated. An interpreter, a go-between. No longer grit but a pearl; the accumulation of layers.
But not free. As a pearl, stringed, set and polished but a commodity.
A pearl is beautiful but inert. Raul’s beauty is his animation. And that is his difference. He can stand and fight.