The Dreams Also Matter

excerpt  A train puffed away from the smoky railway station. A number of pioneers were waving goodbye from the window of one of the cars. Among them, there was a familiar face: big, blue eyes, and the hair, as dark as a nutshell. "Goodbye, my darlings!""Goodbye, comrade instructor!"The train gathered speed, the cars moved further away, as if they were limping until managing to settle firmly on the rails. The blue eyes gazed towards the group of pioneers on the platform for a long time, until those from Zimbran's group, who were there on the train with her, asked:"Are we going to participate in the workers' demonstration in Hunedoara tomorrow morning, comrade instructor?"She said yes. They all started to set up a plan. The pioneers from this group were good and smart, and they had imagination too. Yet, from time to time, she couldn't help thinking about the group left behind on the platform. And she was glad because she hadn't seen any sadness on their faces. "What are they doing now?" she wondered. And the pioneers standing on the platform from where the train was long out of sight waved their handkerchiefs once more, as if answering her; then, agreeing just by looking at each other, they dashed off, one after another, to climb on to the overpass above the rails. From there they could still see a plume of smoke curving above the mountain behind which the railway turned. "They're gone!" said Doru Apostol, not without a trace of regret in his voice. "Tomorrow they're taking part in the 1st of May demonstration in Hunedoara!" added Matei in the same voice. "As if we couldn't have had a demonstration here?" asked Maria surprised. "One thing is clear, they beat us!" said Nicorici. "Beat us?! That's a terrible idea! I'm not even thinking about it," Andrei answered back twice as ardently."No? Then how do you call this?" Dora asked indignantly."It's called we were after one thing and they were after another. That's how it's called," said Crişul quickly and lispingly, confirming his colleague's opinion. Yes, it was true. "Their aim was to collect enough scrap iron in order to win the trip to Hunedoara, while we, as the comrade instructor said, were more interested in the "human element." We, too, had our aim, and achieved it. Today we feel stronger, and more united. Only someone with a clear reasoning like Matei could have judged things this way," thought Costel. Costel looked lovingly at his friends. Only now did he realize what a big sacrifice they had made for him, how much their help meant to him, how good and how sure of himself he felt when he was with them. And, above all things, he really wanted to do something for them. "What do you think," he said, "couldn't we take a short trip to Hunedoara also? It will only take a minute. I guarantee we'll get there before they do. Here's the blooming mill! We can see it even before we reach the Hunedoara railway station. It's a huge building made of concrete and glass where the red-hot metal is transformed into bars. Can you see it? Yes, this is the metal, coming up in large chunks on the trains moving in the opposite direction from us. Look, these pieces are the ingots. They come from the steel works. Yes, this here is the steel works. Do you see the sparks coming out of that gutter? An oven has just been cleared, a charge is being released. On the other side the oven fills up, the charge is being formed. A lot of things are put into it. Pig iron is put into it. Pig iron comes from those high furnaces you see in the back. Yes, those that look like the lamps inside a radio. See these trucks? They transport coke from the coke works. Coke is made of the coal extracted by our parents. Yes, yes, so that you know, we would have done the same thing if we had sent the scrap iron or the coal taken out with our truck. Of course, I think our truck will soon become another piece of scrap iron to be melted, but at least we have done something extra with it. But why am I talking to you about this? We are in Hunedoara! You can see the castle a bit further up from the factory. It's Ioan Corvin's castle. You know, the one from the story with the raven! You can see the entire valley from the tower. Let's take a look at the 1st of May demonstration! You can see Hunedoara, the new town, you can see the fifty thousand inhabitants dressed up for the holiday… you can see…"And they could see it all. In the evening's purple light, shaded by a plume of smoke raising from a remote locomotive, they could see everything Costel told them about. They saw it as if it was all there. They were convinced everything was there. And the more they looked at each other, the more they were convinced. Because when you are surrounded by your friends, when you believe in the same thing as your companions, those with whom you have overcome the difficult times, then you will see that the dreams also matter!You look at the one standing to your right, you look at the one standing to your left, then you look at yourself and you become more and more certain that they will come true, that they cannot but come true! from A Strong Family, Tineretului, 1963

by Corneliu Leu (b. 1931)