- For Teachers
Please, would you take a look at the fourth part of my short story Professor Cosma and correct my mistakes.
When he was 23 years old, he was recommended for the Party membership. The Party secretary at the university told him the news, shook hands with him and congratulated him on the recommendation. However, instead of feeling joy and honour, for being a member of the Party was the dream of everyone who wanted to succeed in society, student Cosma felt uneasiness. Both his parents were devout Catholics, and he grew up with the stories about Jesus, Mary, Lazarus and dozens of other characters, which his mother used to tell him before he drifted into sleep. His parents would kneel before the wooden figure of Mary night after night, praying and pleading to her to help their children in their lives.
They did not talk much about politics, but from what he had heard from their discussions, he understood that they both had a low opinion about the communists. Officially, they denied the existence of God and Holly books, but instead of them, they have installed their own divinities like Marx and Lenin. They had come to power promising freedom for everybody, but now they threw into prison anyone who dared to question their ideas. They called religion “the opium of the people” and spoke disdainfully of the priests and nuns, but they themselves had created schools of propagandists, whose main goal was to brainwash their own people. They laughed at God’s promised paradise in the sky, trying to convince ordinary citizens that they would make a paradise on earth instead, but their promised paradise was slowly turning into a nightmare.
Student Cosma was unable to sleep well the following nights. He was going to meet the Party secretary again to give him his answer, and in the meantime he was struggling with himself. He did not want to become disloyal to his parents, but he could not destroy his own future, for declining the invitation would close all doors for his career. He would certainly end up as a teacher in a godforsaken place where his only company would be sheep and cows he had once fled from. He would always be treated with suspicion - an enemy who only waited for the proper moment to show his right face - for those who openly declined membership were more dangerous than those anonymous who never had been invited.
When he met the Party secretary the next time and told him his answer, the latter shook his hands more vigorously than the first time, smiling at him, and patting him on his right shoulder as if saying, “Now you’re one of us. You’re ready to sacrifice yourself for the Party and the Party will take care of you as if you were her son.” But student Cosma could not imagine the new mother who would welcome him with open arms. He had seen instead his parents staring at him with disdain and telling him that he was no longer their son.
Some weeks later there was a celebration in the university hall in honour of the new members of the Party, with a choir singing revolutionary songs and speakers reminding the audience of the past achievements and promising the new. When these compulsory rituals had finished, the new members walked to the podium to receive each the red booklet with his or her name inside and a red carnation. This occasion was for the majority of them the most solemn and happiest in their life, but for student Cosma these moments were the most shameful. He had sold himself out, betrayed his family and become conformist and careerist. He shoved quickly the red booklet in the inside pocket of his jacket and did not want to see it anymore. He promised himself never to talk about his membership to anyone in his family. Maybe one day, if the occasion did arise, he would tell them the truth. He was sure they would understand and forgive him. After all, they all were victims of the regime which did not tolerate the irresolute. One was complying with the system or was against it.
To be continued.