Sunday 3 October 2004

separation

His life is one separation after another. Separate lives dictate the nation. Because of the stigmatism between the Catholics and Protestants, even towns flourish on opposite sides of the street.

Primary school America is an all-encompassing entity. Children from many backgrounds, religions, and races gather under one roof, education being one of the few places where there is no segregation between them.

Not so for him….years ago his Protestant primary school sat on one side of the town, the Catholic school on the other. To a little boy this division is so normal he doesn’t know what it does to his heart and to his country. He doesn’t know that the school across the city holds precious, little, blue-eyed boys just like him. Those Catholic boys play with the same toys and dream the same dreams. They all fidget at their desks wanting to be out under the sky. Now it’s unknown to them, but one day they’ll realize the horror this separation gives them.

Two little boys play their games on opposite sides of the town, crouching over matchbox cars. Their mums are cooking on steaming stoves, their dads returning from work. A fringe of blond hair brushes this one’s eyes, the other boy’s freckles dot his nose and play chase across his face. They aren’t so different, these two little boys. If given the chance they could look past this distance to friendship.

It never happens.

Andrew grows up a Protestant student, each day at his Protestant school.
Michael says his mass and prays his rosary, oblivious in his Catholic primary school that his best friend lives across town...and he’ll never know him.


1 comment:

Anthrodoc_1 said...

What a strong, poignant writing... well done. Interesting perspective. As a teacher, even in what is supposedly the most "democratic" of American systems, public education has its ebbs and flows. Choices towards one current or another have such heavy impacts on life later on down the river. The writing resurfaces memories of Armagh. Two hills, two cathedrals, to sects, one people (?)