Once again, Balian was at his mother’s side cruising through the ‘Happy Kids’ neighborhood, as he nicknamed it. Every time they passed by it, from the distance, Balian could see the kids playing in the shores of the yellow bay, running and sliding in its fluffy sands.
Balian always wondered how did it feel like to play on those golden sands, free to goof around? To let the wind and the sun frisk with his naked skin? Would he be whole?
“Please, mom, stop for a moment, would you?”
“What is it this time, sweetheart?”
“I wanna watch them play for a few seconds. Please,” Balian said.
“Only for a moment.”
Watching the kids enjoying the sunny beach with their families soured even more the taste of loneliness in Balian’s mouth. He was the only youngling in his family. None of the adults played with him. Ever.
Why did he have no brothers? Why did he have to waste his youth locked away from fun and games?
“Why can’t I go there, mom?”
“You know this is a very dangerous zone. The Orsini family controls it.”
“Yeah, but they don’t have any quarrel with us.”
“Not for the moment, but you never know.”
“We’re a mighty family as well. We could fight them,” Balian said.
“Confrontation isn’t our strong suit. We have the muscle, yes, but we lack the tools. The Orsini would eat us alive.”
“No, I’m not.”
“Danger is all around, inclusive at home,” Balian said. “You barely let me go out, even for some fresh air.”
“We have lost your father this way. I won’t risk losing you.”
“Could we ask them to come to our home and play with me, then?”
“It doesn’t work that way. Their lives are quite different from ours.”
“In what way?”
“They don’t fit our world, and vice-versa.”
“Why?” Balian asked.
“It’s a birth right. We’re just different.”
“I wish I was one of them.”
“Don’t say that. You’re very fortunate for the life you have.”
“How come?” Balian asked.
“You don’t know famine, nor wake up every morning wishing to just stay alive. You have a family that loves and protects you.”
“I don’t have the sun.”
“None of us have. In time, you’ll get used to it.”
“Father didn’t. He was reaching for it…”
“You don’t know that.”
“What if I chose to be like them?”
“Why do you say such things? Do you miss your Dad, that’s it?”
“I am… hollow,” Balian said.
“You are what you are. There’s nothing you can do about it.”
“What am I?”
“Ok, sweetheart, we stayed long enough. It’s time to go.”
“Yes, mom, it’s indeed time for me to go.”
Balian looked at the other blue whales around him. He was his father’s son. Lifting his tail flukes,
he swam heads on to the golden shore with its fluffy sands brimming with happy sea lions. He carried the sun in his eyes.