The warm glow of the lazy afternoon sun was present all around the house. The dusty streets outside, which should have boys playing cricket, looked extremely deserted.
Everyone was at home, their parents refusing to let them out. No one went to school anymore. There were no more afternoon games and no more visits to the church. It was the time of war.
Marcus, a restless boy of ten years, stared out gloomily. He was tired of staying at home. And like any other boy of his age, he wanted to meet his friends and go to the neighborhood park every afternoon. He missed his father, who was away at war. And he often saw his Mum crying and worrying about him.
Today, however, he couldn’t hear any armed tanks or any gunshots or explosions. Today seemed a little more peaceful.
Pulling himself away from the window, he went off to find his older brother, Rodrigo.
He finally found him, in the attic, hunched over a piece of paper. Although Marcus hardly knew how to read, he still stared at the paper intently, kneeling beside the wooden box his brother was using as a hard surface for writing.
On asking what he was doing, his brother explained. Long ago, he had heard some seniors talking about writing your name and address on a piece of paper, putting it into a bottle and throwing it into the sea. From there, it sailed to far off distant lands. It seemed exciting, however, because of the uncertainty of not knowing where it would reach.
Marcus, too, wanted to do the same. Rodrigo took another piece of paper, and wrote his details too. Marcus helped him roll up the papers and put them into the glass bottles, ones which were normally used to store wine or vinegar by their Mum.
Ignoring their sleeping mother, they silently crept past her room to the roof door. Sneaking out had never seemed so much fun, although deep inside, they knew it was wrong.
They walked towards the seashore, each holding their bottle. The rough sea waves crashed against the black rocks and seagulls were seen flying high. No enemy ships or half-submerged submarines either. Perhaps the war was finally ending and their father would finally come back home.
At the count of three, they both ran forward, hand in hand, and threw as far as they could. They watched the bottles bobbing up and down in the waves, with an unexplained joy.
They watched until they couldn’t be seen anymore.
They watched until their desire for freedom was satisfied.
For after all, we all are human, aren’t we?