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  • Writer's pictureOlga Lehmann, PhD

Short story: on a child's cry (Jeg vil ikke dra hjem)

I just wanted to go home. But where is home? The direction homeward is fuzzy these days, or somehow incomplete. No matter what choice I make, I realize home is a temporary statement in my life. Finally I was taking the last flight from Stockholm to Trondheim. I was lost on the clear darkness of the window, sometimes accompanied by the super moon that had captivated me and taken my breath away during the last days in Colombia, Spain, and now, somewhere in the Scandinavian sky.  

What a noisy flight it was, and what a crave for the silence of my apartment I had. Suddenly, one of the voices captivated me. It was a kid, crying and complaining. "Jeg vil ikke dra hjem, jeg vil ikke dra hjem, mamma" (I don't wanna go home, mamma, I don't wanna go home" he said once we landed. While the pilot was driving the plane towards the gate at Værnes airport, the little kid changed his song to "Jeg vil ikke gå til Trondheim, Jeg vil ikke gå til Trondheim, mamma" (I don't wanna go to Trondheim, mamma, I don't wanna go to Trondheim". The grinch within me answered in my mind... "Sorry man, but we have just landed in Trondheim, your mamma cannot change that". I do too, as you, my reader, have so many characters and voices in my mind. 

To this child's chants, another little girl, perhaps motivated by him, started crying and saying to her mom. "Jeg vil ikke hå bursdag i morgen, mamma, Jeg vil ikke ha bursdag i morgen". To what my grinch added, "you would still have a birthday tomorrow,, no matter how long you cry". 

Then, I turned toward another direction my inner dialogue. What was this situation teaching me? Which impossible fights with reality was I engaging right now? I further reflected upon Freud's undeniable statement about the tension between the principle of pleasure and the principle of reality. Little children, would I say now: I understand what you want, yet we can't do anything about it. Tomorrow would come, be it your birthday or not. You can decide not to celebrate it, or to open the gifts. Life doesn't change by demanding it to do so. Reality changes, sometimes, when we water the seeds for change to blossom, and patiently wait for the blooms. 

The bright side of a child's cry is that we are constantly learning, ever since we are children, that we can change reality, that we can pursue that which we want to pursue. Yet, the shadow side, is that we, even as adults, pretend that the unconscious fantasies of ours turn into reality by demand. ....  so many times while pretending we are "adulting", it is that little spoiled child who speaks. I guess I have a whole kindergarten within, and I want to sit in the playground with all these voices and listen. I don't want my beloved ones to be ill, yet they are. I don't want to defend my thesis feeling the way I feel... yet, of course I will show up. I don't want uncertainties to cover up my dreams, yet uncertainty is part of our human condition (sometimes an unbearable one).

Then, in my process of adulting, I want to have a dialogue with those who cry, and ask these children in my mind to listen. I want, I deeply yearn, to stop fighting reality with the fantasies of what should be, or what could had been, which cloud the present to unfold. I want more bright moons to captivate me independently of a location, and I want my path back homeward to be real, and feel real, so I don't miss any step nor its teachings.

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