Title: Fedayee --- Epilogue
Author: Elliott Silver
I grew up in the small town of Rilleux in southern France. We lived in a modest house stuck between two historic chateaux - I fell into the smaller chateau's lily pond at six and came home covered in nympheas. My father was a schoolteacher - he taught all the twelve year-olds - and my mother designed security systems on occasion.
I never wanted anything growing up, and although we weren't rich, we were by no means poor.
My mother and father loved each other tremendously. And they loved me.
My happiest memories are of them, of helping my father in his toy vineyard of Muscadet grapes and of going into Paris with my mother because there was always a part of her that needed the rush and bustle of a city every now and then, the car horns and street singers and Gothic architecture and designer stores. I never thought it was odd that my father had a serious predilection for sweets, for France was bad for that kind of weakness, or that my mother kept a silver gun.
I was never given to understand that I was anything but completely ordinary. I recited "Paradise Lost" at 5, miniaturized the Sistine Chapel on my ceiling at 7, and came up with a solution for the French deficit at 9. In second grade, I explained the nature of inverse logarithms to Raphael who wore glasses and then I showed him how to memorize his subtraction tables because he didn't understand math very well. He passed our next quiz and when I threw my arms around him, he blushed.
When I told my father that, he smiled and said I was just like my mother.
In an old paper my father inadvertently left out, I read that my parents were called 'pretenders', although I don't really know what that means because in that way, I must be a 'pretender' too. I know my father fought for justice and my mother fought for peace, but I don't know yet what I will do.
They tell me I can change the world. But there is something they do not know.
On my father's paper, I read that a pretender can be anything she wants to be - and this I believe. My father could 'pretend' and my mother could 'intuit', but they don't know that I can 'see.' I can see everything, and at times I cry because of what I see. But the world is indeed a beautiful place when it is at peace, as beautiful as my parents' devotion to each other, because it takes a little pain to reach perfection and a little blood must be spilled before the battle is won. We are not far away yet, I know it, I see it.
In their love, my parents have taught me everything.
My parents say nothing, but I know there is a place where the ocean beats like a heart against the shoreline, where the land is flat and red like blood. I know I will go there one day and I will change the world. I will look out of my mother's window with my father's eyes. Only then will I understand this word I could never pronounce, this word that my mother says changed everything, the word that I think sounds like a birdcall and in my mother's eyes, she thinks it sounds like bullets - this word, fedayee.
My mother's name is Angel and my father's name is Jarod. I am Elanor Isabelle Parker and one day, I know I will go Africa and I will change the world and instead of this word that means 'ransom,' I will speak this one word, 'peace.'
And it will be beautiful.