Short stories · Stories

Vol 2 Arsee’s short stories 18 The Pause

Yuri Pavlov was a man who spoke his mind and for that reason he was a man in prison. His wife, Irina, had warned that it would happen when he insisted on taking on the government with his sharp editorials and edgy comments against the policies and the rule of the land. The charges were trumped up but the sentence was long.

Luckily for him ,he was housed in a penitentiary for political prisoners. He had some allowed comforts and Irina had visitation rights.

Winter was approaching and soon it would be Christmas. Irina had decided to take their ten-year old, Boris, for a holiday to Istanbul but before that she wanted to wish Yuri a merry Christmas.

The meeting room was cold, there was apparently no heating or it had failed and it wasn’t important to fix it. A low intensity light bulb hung from the ceiling casting pale shadows on the walls and the floor. The moment Irina walked into the room Yuri knew that something was troubling his wife.

“What is the matter? ” he held her hands with his own hands cuffed to the table.
“It’s Boris. He has begun to stammer,” Irina wiped a tear as she shared her pain with her husband.
“Is it because I am in prison?”
“No Yuri. I think it is because he is having problems in school. His teacher says that he is a clever boy and does his exams well but in class he has become very quiet. He struggles to answer the questions in class. The teacher cannot understand how that can happen. Great at his written tests but so dull when it comes to any verbal communication.” Irina had clearly done everything that she could about the problem before she brought it to Yuri. Yuri thought for a moment and then asked Irina if she could take a letter from him to Boris, on her way to Istanbul? She could give it as a Christmas gift from a Father to his son.

Istanbul was not as cold as the harsh winter of their country. Irina made sure Boris did not feel the absence of his father. They bought Christmas gifts and hung them in socks and even found a big Christmas tree in the Hotel under which they could exchange their gifts. When the toys were unpacked and embraced with glee Irina gave Boris the letter from his father. It was a Christmas gift for him. Boris tore the envelope open and read the letter with a happy urgency.

Dear Boris,

      Merry Christmas. I wish I was there to share the fun holiday with you, unfortunately I am paying the price of honesty and I am okay with that too.

My gift to you is not this letter but what I write here for you. It might not seem like much of a present right now but I am sure as your grow older you will see the value of what i’ve written here.

      The Pause. What is the pause? The pause is the silence in a conversation. We all experience it all the time when the conversation dries up. We don’t think much of it. It’s fine. But when it comes to the pause between a question and an answer the entire meaning changes.

In a quiz contest the lesser you pause the more intelligent you are, press on the button and beat the rest. But should you go to a man for advice the more he pauses the more you would value the advice. It is strange how we as a society have learned to interpret the pause. A great mathematician will floor you with his speed and yet a jury that deliberates endlessly on a case is better at its job then a quick one.

        The pause has different meanings at different times. But let me tell you my boy that the pause is a useless way to judge intelligence. Albert Einstein said that he was not better than others, he just stayed with a problem longer. If you cannot come up with an answer fast enough it doesn’t mean you are unintelligent and if you deliberate endlessly it again doesn’t mean you are astute.

        What defines your intelligence is the answer you come up with not the amount of time that you take to arrive at it. As you grow up people around you will fool you into believing that memory is intelligence, speed is intelligence or then quick comprehension is intelligence. Believe me my dear, none of them are intelligence. Don’t let them fool you. Play the game, don’t get fooled by it.

        Remember Boris, interpreting the meaning of your pause is not your problem. It is the problem of others. Don’t pretend to understand for the fear of the pause. Pause as long as you want. Don’t feel the need to compete with time. No one has ever won that race in any case.

          I love you.

                             Your Loving Father, Yuri. 

Boris looked up at his Mother. He did not understand a word of it. But Irene who read the letter over his shoulder couldn’t stop her tears.

“One day you will really need this letter Boris. One day the world will realize that they need Yuri out of prison and not in it.”

– Arsee.

5 thoughts on “Vol 2 Arsee’s short stories 18 The Pause

  1. Ah,you write well. I’m so pleased you’ve chosen to follow my blog. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it. I’ll be checking in to see what you are up to as well. All the best in 2022. Cheers, Muriel

    Liked by 1 person

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