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I am 21, on my last day of community service for beating a random guy on the street who bumped into me. I have lost my direction in life it seems and have no one to turn to. On the tram on my way home, I meet Ivan, an 11-year-old Roma boy. Somehow, despite our differences, we feel drawn to each other right away. I guess the troubles Ivan is going through, in their own way, remind me of my own childhood. When he shows up on my doorstep a few days later, barefoot, terrified and exhausted, I offer him to stay at my place. I am living alone and think that I can help him find his place in his lone and incredibly difficult world. I want to become that person in his life that I desperately needed but never had; I want him to trust me and feel safe and loved for who he is because he truly is an exceptional person who has so much love to give but sadly, no one to give it to.
That day, Ivan shows me the scars and bruises from his older brothers’ whippings and I realize that I have never truly overcome those bitter and painful parts of my past. Once, when I was abusing drugs at 17, I physically assaulted my sister and stabbed my mother in the thigh. My parents, in response, sent me to a monastery in which priests beat-heavy drug addicts with shovels. They beat me unconscious the first night. I felt that I could talk to him about it and I did it.
Even with all the heavy loads that both of us carry, the time we spend together is mostly joyful and we manage to create our own new world where freedom feigns in its absolute form. We live happily until Ivan shows up at my place one night with his brother and best friend, very drugged. Hoping that I could help him to understand the true danger of drugs, I keep trying to get through to him throughout the evening, but he doesn’t seem to care or respond.
Watching him take his first steps in the wrong direction, I realize that, in order to help Ivan with his present, I must confront my past first.
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