~ Chimney ~

This story is true. When two people spend most of their lives together, then it is inevitable that they slowly stop watching each other and start to notice what they have missed all these years, and the omissions are many: starting with flaws that, due to their love affection and blindness, they did not notice, through seeking the culprit for all the incidentally failures and misfortunes, to completely bizarre and irrelevant things and occurrences from the environment, which they would study in detail during the hours of entertainment. At those moments, everything would seem to them to be incorrect, distorted and ugly, and would become the object of their observation and gossip: passers-by, tax collectors, postmen, lovers, and even cats that would accidentally appear in their viewpoint. In this story, the victim of two people was a completely innocent chimney, which, unfortunately, could not and did not have anywhere to escape because he was standing in the middle of their house, surrounded by their frowned faces who did not want to leave it alone and who firmly decided to devote all their free time to it. It had some, just known to it, a problem. Instead of throwing smoke into the sky, it spread it, through the holes and cracks, at the house and bringing its tenants to madness. Every day, especially during the cold months, they started to fear that it would play with them again and that it would let them down. In that expectation and in the rare moments of silence between the cold walls, they were all ears so that they could hear the crackling of the fire. It was a sure sign that the chimney works and that it will be warm to them that day. But the wise chimney would surprise and disappoint them when they least expected it. Then their life became a real nightmare, and they were participants of a unique and unrepeatable drama. They pounded it with sticks and cursed the day they built it, and it, encountered by the situation in which it was found, was forced to revenge and oppose them, and did not want to work for days. Upset and angry, its owners brought all known and unknown experts to investigate their problem and solve it, but in the sea of assessments and evaluations the solution did not even appear. The smoke still ruthlessly emerged out of the holes and pulled into all the cavities that made it suitable for longer keeping. The bristled tenants unsuccessfully tried to close all the holes near the chimney. Even the smallest unpleasant smell which would come from its direction caused anxiety in them, as if a volcano was beginning to wake up nearby. They would jump out of the air and would blame each other for failing to solve the problem and control its activity. Unfortunately, in the life of every person there are many things that he never could and will not be able to control. These are sometimes some totally tiny nonsense that constantly nerves and irritate him, and which he can not avoid at all. They may exist to make the lives of some people interesting. Thus, the unique chimney became a great mystery not only for its owners, but also for the chimney sweeps. They took turns one after the other in the hope of discovering what its problem was, but unsuccessfully. They were constantly cleaning it, watching from below and from above, burning and who knows what they did, but it only worked when it wanted to. It did not want to miss a unique opportunity to show that it is more powerful than a man, that it can play with him and keep many threads in its cavities. Two people, who tirelessly searched for these threads, felt helplessly at the problem that did not leave them. The chimney became a real nightmare. They were so burdened by it that they could not sleep, and they were eagerly awaiting morning and weather forecasts. Its work depended on air pressure and many other circumstances, so all of this needed to be harmonized in order to warm them up. Many of their daily activities depended on its mood. They never did manage to organize themselves and plan anything. Every new day they started, instead of coffee and smile, with indisposition. With longing, they gazed at the chimneys of the surrounding houses which throwing large clouds of smoke into the sky, while their shyly hiding among them, rarely showing any signs of life. They became jealous of all those, whose chimneys were working, so they began to study their houses in detail to discover the least irregularities, disorders, curvature and cracks. They processed the collected material in moments while, covered with thick blankets, their teeth were chattering from the cold. Many of these moments ended in quarrels. They would snarl to one another as coyotes, and would argue tirelessly for hours. They were even more annoyed by unannounced visits by curious neighbors and relatives who were wholeheartedly offered to help them. And so day after day, the chimney became one of the most important items in the life of two people. One day they decided to cross it out. They sat at the table, and after a long session, which lasted until early morning hours, they agreed to drop it and find another solution that would warm them on cold winter days. It was interesting to watch them plan the way to do it without much noise and dust. And the chimney seemed to know what was going on, so it began to work so well that it even vacillate them at some point. They reassessed their decision again and, after a brief discussion, they came to the conclusion that it was too quickly. Their journey from idea to realization was so long that they did not even notice that they were aging along that way. They joined a large group of people who wasted their precious time on nonsense. One of these nonsense was a concrete chimney in the middle of their house, which, after many debates and rethinking, they, in the end, nevertheless collapsed. For the first time, after many years, a large dark cloud appeared over their house, which swallowed up all those ugly days that this strange concrete chimney had brought to them. They have removed all the traces that could in any way be associated with its existence. It was the only house in a settlement that did not have a chimney, but they were still happy because there was no smoke anymore. They say that where there is no smoke, there is no fire. Is that so?
Chimney, author Suzana Stojanović, October 3, 2018