WELCOME TO PARADISE Mahi Binebine Granta Books, copyright 2003 p. 75 Mr. Romanchef kept me back after class for a little chat. I could tell by the tone of his voice that my status had changed from clever young peasant boy to the deeply gratifying one of adult, possessor of a certificate of secondary education. Mr. Romanchef was so proud; it hadnít been easy for him either, back home in Romania. Heíd had to fight hard to go to university and leave his oppressed country. He promised to help me. The good Lord, he said, always gives opportunities to those who wish for them and who cling to their dreams, however inaccessible or irrational they may be. Because the truth is, dreams fade at low altitudes. They need space, blue sky, infinity. So if you hang on to them, youíll end up being carried along in their wake, up high, into skies of freedom. Of course lifeís hardships are the enemies of dreams, they never stop trying to capture them, weigh them down, clip their wings. But a dream you keep prisoner in your head for too long will fade and die as well. What could be more depressing than a dream dragging itself off to the cemetery of helplessness? Admittedly, dreams donít belong to anyone, they donít need anyone. But theyíll go a little way with whoever courts them, and is persistent. Donít ever kill them. . .