Part 1 in the Helena Series
Eleven year-old Helena smiled contentedly at the rays of the summer sun trickling through the thick, leafy canopy of the live oaks. She loved walking along the shady lane that led to Grandma’s big mansion by the bayou, as it gave her time to forget everything and enjoy the tranquil beauty of the surroundings. She had been visiting Grandma – who was not her real grandma – at least once a week for as long as she could remember.
While writing this story, I can hear the storm wind howling outside. It’s soaring through the trees and making their wintery, bare branches groan. It makes me feel restless. Or is it the other way around? Is my restlessness combined with the restlessness of the people around me causing the wind to blow harder? I believe we influence the world around us more than we may be aware of. Also, I believe everything is connected and interactive. I believe in the butterfly effect.
Slowly but decidedly, Pepe climbed the creaky old stairs to his parents’ attic. Once he had arrived he looked around in the poor light for the chest that he knew had to be there, among all the other things his parents had collected over the years. His intuition showed him the way and a few moments later he knelt down before the chest, which was covered in a layer of dust. He felt his heart beating heavily when he let his hands glide over the rusty latch. Then he cleared his throat, folded his hands for a couple of seconds and unlatched the chest.
I stopped eating meat about a year ago. Why? Because I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror any longer without feeling bad about the abuse and exploitation of farm animals. I had already cut down on meat consumption years ago, and now I felt it was time to stop eating meat altogether. Not long after that, I stopped eating nearly all dairy products – I only eat butter, and occasionally cheese – which, basically, means I have a vegan diet. However, this still doesn’t make me animal friendly. And, on top of this, I don’t feel the need to associate with other vegans.
Tomorrow in the Netherlands, it will be Remembrance Day, and the day after it will be Liberation Day. It’s days like these that give me mixed feelings. Is it a good thing to remember those who gave us our freedom and then celebrate this freedom? Well, maybe. In this way we can experience gratitude and be aware of the importance of freedom. On the other hand, it makes us focus on suffering.