A sparkling glass chandelier hanging from a plaster ceiling rose coated in gold above illuminated the dining table. White wallpaper with densely scattered yellow flowers enclosed the space, and some of them were covered by colourful embroidery with thick gold plated frames. The sound of the seven o’clock news travelled vociferously through the dining room and upon the reading the headlines, the news presenter announced the breaking news. “Communist Federal Republic of Vallsia no longer exists. Fifteen minutes ago, members of the People’s Federal Assembly decided to change our country into the Socialist Federal Republic of Vallsia.
The constitutional changes will enable each republic to administer its affairs as long as they do not violate the constitutional order of the Federation. Republics will now be able to have their own parliaments, supreme courts and other liberties. Vallsian citizens now have a right to be legal owners of land and property. Starting tomorrow ambitious and visionary entrepreneurs can register and operate private businesses. Its citizens will no longer be prosecuted for mentioning God and will enjoy the right to enter the sacral buildings, which will reopen for regular prayers or other religious services.”
Chewing on his bite of roasted potatoes, spotty Alexander widened his eyes, directing them towards his mother. “Mum, does this mean that now we are allowed to use the G-word?”
Alexander’s mother and father began laughing hysterically.
“Yes, my child. And it is not the G-word. As of today, you ought to stop using that word and refer to him as God,” she replied affirmatively.
While Nona continued explaining to her son that he should no longer use the G-word, Alexander broadened his face, pulling up an Asian like face sinking it down his neck between his shoulders.
After Nona was done with her long explanation, Alexander turned towards his father and asked, “Dad, you are a Supreme Court judge. Does this mean that Lokin’s father will be released from prison soon?”
Alexander’s father didn’t reply, as he continued biting another piece of a strikingly red piece of steak after he dipped it on the yellow sauce, inside a shiny bowl and ate it, chewing it slowly as if he was suffering from a terrible toothache. Next, he gulped down two sips of red wine and immersed in finishing off the oil dripping green salad inside the rounded transparent bowl.
Realising that Ati had no intention of replying to his son, Nona gently taped her wine glass with her fork until she received her husband’s attention, and then lifted her fork towards her mouth, exclaiming, “Planet Alexander calling planet Ati, over! Answer back planet Ati, over!”
After placing his fork and knife over the edge of his plate, he dusted the breadcrumbs off his slim fingers, propped his padded elbows over the chequered tablecloth with tiny red squares, and straightened his shinny curly hair that began greying out around his long sideburns. He avoided her, and sat silently at a table in a brightly lit dining table holding the wine glass between her fingers.
Then, after taking another sip of wine, gargling it inaudibly in his throat, Ati directed his bulging black eyes below his prominent high forehead towards his son, who couldn’t resist his curiosity, “Dad, I have heard that the state sentenced him only because he mentioned the G-word-”
“Alex, I told you not to use the G-word,” his mum corrected him promptly.
“Sorry, Mum. I meant to say ‘God’.” Alex replied as glanced down towards the edge of the table.
Ati wiped his narrow lips with a napkin, squared his chest, as Nona darted her brown eyes into him with utmost concentration, present in people who are about to splutter a mosquito. Then he extracted maduro coloured cigar out of his corded jacket’s inner pocket and set it burning with a match. He inhaled a couple of puffs, unleashing a dense white smoke covered his face and with his eyebrows raised, glanced up towards Alexander’s curious face.
“Yes, that’s true,” Ati replied at last, as he got up, and with sluggish steps approached the antique looking wooden shelf the held various plate souvenirs.
He spoke in a low, flat voice, looking down at the fluid red liquid as he spun the wine glass clockwise once in a while. He showed no emotion, but his voice had the extreme monotone of a monologue. After grabbing a large ceramic ashtray, in which he dropped the matchstick, Ati headed for the patio doors, opened them, stepped outside and looked up at the stars.
“Dad, will Lokin’s father be free soon?” Alexander asked, as his eyes followed him walking.
“I don’t know, Alexander. Most probably, he will be sent home. Lokin is a good kid, and he deserves to grow up with his father by his side.” Ati replied, after turning around to with a seamlessly grave face.
“But surely a declaration of love for someone can’t be a criminal offence, Dad. Lokin’s father didn’t hurt or offend anyone else by declaring his affection for God!” Alexander objected, as he raised his head, revealing his wide chestnut eyes that radiated scrupulous alertness.
“You’re right, my son. But to maintain unity and brotherhood among mankind, Communism didn’t permit any divisions among its constituents. Therefore, to maintain overall accord, Communism scorned God’s existence and banned people from practising their religion,” Ati replied before wolfing down a big chunk of beef.