Illusion vaccine

I realized how meaningful it can be, to commit a minor untruth for the sake of someone you love. Everything else is secondary and unimportant. Even injustice.

Illusion vaccine

I realized how meaningful it can be, to commit a minor untruth for the sake of someone you love. Everything else is secondary and unimportant. Even injustice.

City Liana Davidyan

Can a discovery come to a person too early, when he is not ready for it? And is it possible there are discoveries for which one can never be ready, neither in six years, nor in ninety? There is much that one wouldn’t want to discover through firsthand experience — betrayal, injustice, disappointment, pain. But through these unpleasant experiences, one grows up, emerging from this round of injuries into a new stage of life, coming into a greater seriousness and depth. And yet it can also happen, that all the fullness of experience is revealed to a person in early childhood, imparting to them a stability and resilience that stays with them for life. Liana Davidyan tells her story about love and injustice, in which, fortunately, love triumphs.

They happened almost simultaneously — two huge discoveries that shook me to the core. First, I learned that not all families are as friendly as my own, and I was amazed that not all children know what unconditional love is. And at six, I discovered injustice for myself. To be precise, a month before turning six, in kindergarten.

At kindergarten age, I was a real entertainer. I would bring records from home with fairy tales about the three little pigs, and would make everyone not only listen, but act out parts in the story. Books with pictures and poems, which the whole group would learn by heart. I sang and danced with pleasure, uninhibited. I was a local celebrity. That’s why, this one time, I was brought in to join the older group of preschoolers, temporarily, just while they were preparing for the graduation concert.

I don’t know what was driving the teachers, but they thought it would be a good idea to attempt to dazzle the audience by bringing a «guest star» onstage, from the year below. It’s hard to believe, but I clearly remember the teacher’s words about how my help was necessary in preparing for the celebration. It did not take much to convince me.

These days, an ironic smile crosses my face when offers to perform in public are put to me, but, back then, being onstage was a great pleasure for me, at the centre of attention, drawing eyes and garnering applause, and I felt completely natural doing so. So it should come as no surprise that I ended up not just a soloist at the concert, but I also feeding others lines, dancing, and singing along in group numbers. The event concluded with a celebratory distribution of gifts.

And now picture excited children crowding around, waiting for gifts, their names being called in turn as they are handed bright rucksacks full of goodies for year one. The ceremony ends, the happy parents begin to leave with the children, I reach for the remaining rucksack and hear a loud: «No! Those are not for you! » I imagine, that so cosmic was the sorrow reflected on my face, that my so-called «teachers» began to explain, saying, these gifts were paid for by the parents of the students who are graduating, but you’re still in kindergarten.

I discovered one of the most ubiquitous facts of life — that most people are interested in you only insofar as you can be of help to them. They can’t be blamed for this.

I don’t remember if they tried to apologise. I don’t know if they under- stood to what extent deeply traumatic events can hurt a child. Still, like in the movies, I can remember the entire scene, down to the colour of the paint on the walls of the assembly hall. But it was then that I discovered one of the most ubiquitous facts of life — that most people are interested in you only insofar as you can be of help to them. They can’t be blamed for this. They are sincere in their request for a favour, and they are in their brief outpouring of gratitude. But the feeling of gratitude doesn’t last long, and rarely does it indicate an intention to reciprocate, because deep down, people believe it wasn’t difficult for you and that you could easily have done more. To have a deep, inherent sense of justice is rare, as is the ability to acknowledge the significance of what someone’s done for you. In the years that have passed since the morning of that memorable performance, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve witnessed people, perceiving, without hesitation, the help of others as their own success. Perhaps this is because accepting someone’s help is difficult. It means admitting one’s own weakness or limited resources. And who wants to remember this any longer than necessary? Only someone who is truly strong. Meeting such people is very rare. But I’ve been helped quite often by an old Armenian proverb: do good, then throw it into the sea. I was first told this by my father. And it’s to him that the end of my story is connected.

Picking his sad and quieted daughter up from kindergarten the day of the performance, Dad at once realised that something was amiss. That evening, he conducted his own investigation and … the next day, I was solemnly presented with an incredible gift — a box full of coloured pencils. My parents hid their eyes while explaining, somewhat unbelievably, that they had forgotten to give it to me yesterday. Going along with their game, I pressed the gift to my chest, plunging once again into the most incredible phenomenon of life. Unconditional parental love. Where and how did my dad manage to get a hold of this present, during the night, amidst Soviet deprivation? What had my mother said on the phone to the kindergarten manager? But they did everything they could to make their child happy.

I did not tell them that I knew their secret. Because even then, at a very tender age, I realized how meaningful it can be, to commit a minor untruth for the sake of someone you love. Everything else is secondary and unimportant. Even injustice.