An Act of Ignorance

An Act of Ignorance The sharp ring of the telephone echoed throughout the businessman’s living room and pierced his ears. It couldn’t have been a more inconvenient time to receive a call. Reluctantly, his hand made its way towards the handset. The restless caller who had been dialling the same number for almost an hour, was almost certain the call would not be answered, and was becoming increasingly desperate with every second. The caller wiped the sweat off his brow for the last time, about to put his phone down when the ringing finally stopped. Putting the handset to his ear the businessman asked “Hello?", unaware who he was addressing. The voice itself brought a look of reassurance to the caller’s face. After months of searching, he had finally found the man. He snatched the telephone to his ear and stuttered uncontrollably, pleading for help. The businessman immediately recognised this voice despite not having heard it for over ten years. His heart skipped a beat. His breath shuddered. His stomach started to churn as years of reminiscence cascaded into his mind, obliterating previous thoughts. The last decade he had spent trying to forget those dreadful times had now gone to waste. Years of facing oppression and downright torture supposed to unite a nation for a greater good, a just cause, couldn’t have ended more catastrophically. A massacre of protestors had left these two survivors forced to conceal their identities after escaping jail; to flee the country and start their lives for a second time, leaving behind everything, including each other. They had pledged never to contact each other again, to part ways for each other’s benefit. It was all going fine until now. The caller still waited for an answer, but a dawning understanding informed him that there was going to be no answer. He had clearly broken the pledge by linking two entities never designed to meet, like two magnets of opposite poles before, one had rotated for them to become like poles. Now as one attempted to approach the other, repulsion had arisen. Years before, the two men had fought together and suffered together, oblivious to the risk of being killed; determined to secure a future for generations to come. However, what they had in common was a forgotten cause, guaranteed to fail in the face of dictatorship. Struggling to continue in a life designed to force them apart, the caller had had only a small flicker of hope to keep him going. When he sensed this feeble flame going out, he sought reassurance in the one soul he knew could reignite the flame. The businessman knew at once the caller had ignored their agreement and was utterly outraged. How could the caller remind him of the atrocities that had once afflicted his conscience? He replied in a stern and final manner: “Wrong number. Sorry.” And just like that, he denied the caller’s pleas just as sharply as the telephone had first rung, coldly dismissing everything they had ever had in common.


by Mayur Ganagi, St Bede’s Inter-Church School


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