The compartment was assigned was empty, I was the first traveler. I took the book and water bottle out of my backpack, and sat down on the little table at the very moment the train started. I was not just the first, I was the only traveler in the compartment. “How fortunate I thought,” “I have this place for me alone.”
The train was speeding, the pictures, the scenes beyond the window appeared and swiftly dipped. The Controller, a tall, elderly bearded man, went into the compartment, took off his cap and sat down on the bench.
– I’m tired. But I’ll be able to rest. The train will go without stop all night, no passengers will go up. Only when no one comes, you can really rest.
– I do not understand. The train should be stopped in three hours. It was on the site. We arrive at 11.45. near midnight. It’s the station I’m getting down to, I’m expected.
– There’s no stopping. It was countermanded.
– Man, I got the ticket, it’s very clear, look, it’s the second station. I do not have time for jokes, and I do not even intend to ride around with this train all night until God knows where. I have people to meet, things to do, program to be respected. What do you want to say?
– Just so, the train will not stop where you want it. The ticket, payment or information is of no value at this time. You got up, you left. You’ll get somewhere. It’s just not the place you expect to get. I do not know very clearly what the destination is, I only know that we will travel all night and we will get somewhere at dawn, but I can not offer certainties. And there is no one waiting for you wherever you think.
– Nothing makes sense what you say. I paid a ticket to a certain place and I expect to arrive there at the time announced. What do you mean, stop it? how or why should I go to a place other than the one scheduled? Who decided this? Is there an entertainment show or what the hell is going on?
He looked at me with a kind of pity and curiosity as though he knew something about me, but he was afraid to tell me. I stopped, I had the strange feeling that it was no joke. The beard of man had gray hairs and was tainted.
– Tell me, I told him.
– I can only tell you there will be no stops and no stations. There will be no forgiveness, no return, no guilt, no punishment. It’s not like it’s just gone, it’s here and now. The place you left no longer exists, the place you want to descend is not possible. I wish I could tell you the destination but it is not allowed and I do not think it would be of any use to you. I have come to warn you, however, not to expect anything or to expect everything.
He stood up, picked up his face and opened the compartment door. From the door he turned back, with the curious look of knowing.
– You can use this time as you like. You can upset, revolt, kick or fists in the walls of the wagon. You can waste your time by making useless plans to escape. You can make complaints or complain youself. Or you can stretch out on the bench and get some rest.
Rest does not mean that you choose to stay. The train takes you anyway.
I stayed on the bench in the compartment without a reply and initially, without reaction. The Controller, who had not checked any tickets, had disappeared from the corridor.
I searched my phone, it was in my backpack pocket. The battery was full but did not have a signal. I took the laptop out of my backpack and put it on the table. No network, check your internet. The next move was no longer a movement, it was a moment of panic. Fuck. I can not believe this is happening. I thought to the Controller and what he had told me, and it seemed to me that the scene was less likely to be true. The man was a madman, some mystical disorder dressed in a rail monitor suit. I checked the tickets again, the time of arrival at the station was 11:45, it was over two and a half hours. I turned to the compartment and thought to go out, look for a toilet and find someone to talk to, ask, maybe tell somebody what happened. This behavior was unacceptable.
I opened the door and went out into the aisle, careful to hear some noise. It was quiet, just in the background was the usual noise of the train wheels, monotonous and regular. My compartment was in the middle, I headed to the right end of the wagon, eyeing the other. They were empty. I walked over those in front of me, then I went back to check again. I fired the doors this time, on each side, more and more agitated, until I got to the opposite side. The wagon ends were locked, closed, there was no door, as the wagon passageways were usually, just a metal wall. The two doors through which the voyagers were climbing were tightly closed, the handles did not climb, they seemed welded. But even if it was open, it was hard to believe that I could have gone down, the train was on the rails, feeling the speed in easy shaking. The wagon was empty, empty, there was no one out there. I tried the windows on the aisle, they did not open, the glass was matt, I passed from one to the other, looking forward, looking for handles or buttons. Nothing. I was going to hit the windows with my fists, I was angry at the top, this story had no meaning, no meaning, and the script was beyond any reason. Like playing in a bad movie. When I reached the compartment where I had the luggage, I slammed the door with power, I had a thousand demons, and each one wanted to strike something.
Suddenly, I remembered the curious look and the way that man had told me I had the alternative of losing my time hitting, sneaking or looking for a way out. I approached and stuck my face to the window, trying to figure out something in the darkness outside, the lights of a locality or of a station might appear. The darkness was dense and compact as a curtain, no stars, moon, or any shade of tree.
With my forehead glued to the window, I realized that until now, the Controller had not lied to me. In a completely illogical and irrational way I was alone in the whole wagon, alone in a train that was going somewhere, I did not know exactly where and when it arrived at an hour I could not imagine. At dawn, said the man. And suddenly I realized that the questions were not like that. The right question was why.
The toilet of the train was clean, with rolls of toilet paper and ordered towels in place. I washed my hands for a long time, finger toe, palm back to the wrist, a hygiene automation taken over from hospital work. I poured soap and let the thin stream of water flow long, from top to bottom. Then he gave me a thought, and I stopped the tap from a motion, I could not know, maybe the amount of water was limited. I wondered if the other wagons were single people, just like me or I was just myself, the victim of a bizarre experiment. Again, the question did not give me any peace. Why? I stopped in the picture framed by the rectangle of the mirror, the frowned figure, the rings under eyes, the wrinkle from the forehead root in a tight line. I let go of the rinkle and I press my eyes with my wet hands, trying to make me feel clear. No, it was not a dream and it was not an illusion. I was in a closed wagon, trapped with no explanation, with vague information from a weird man. In fact, not the man was strange, but the words. And there was something else, I could not figure out what, I missed a detail that I felt important, almost floating in the air.
I had no answer and no explanation for the twilight area in which I had landed on board the train. I tried to get a signal on the phone. I walked my cellphone across the wagon in every corner, hoping to catch a thread. In any case, no signal dash, no shadow of the net was stinking on the dial. The feeling of loneliness in the world of strangeness began to overwhelm me, I was on the verge of a panic attack, I felt the pulse start to go mad with the missed attempts to get in touch with someone, everyone. “I can not panic, I can not, I have to gather, I have to get out of here.” I felt it coming up, climbing insidiously from the fingers, heat waves rising up in my cheeks, while in the back I felt a thrill of ice. The remembrance of panic attacks with her clenched chest, the uncontrolled chill, the pulse that beat in the temples and break my carotids, was overwhelming. At home, when it happened, we called one of the girls and they were staying with me for a few minute until the crisis was quiet enough. I squeezed the phone in my hand, trembling, clinging to the sense of help she was offering me. I deeply inspired, three times deep, three times superficially, letting the air come out controlled, again three times, to stop the attack before it started. Eventually the pressure began to drop, but the temptation was to crawl around in a corner and cry. I did not understand anything.
I put the unnecessary phone on the table, and a cigarette craving came to me. “I can not get down,” I thought. I’m going to smoke in the compartment, get her fuck, I’m gonna pay a fine. Or maybe who knows, there is a smoke alarm that I will activate and someone will get me out of here. Ha! Here’s an idea.
I took out the pack of cigarettes, lighter, and I smoked the first smoke. I started to smoke the smoke to the ceiling with power, but nothing happened. After several attempts, I calmed down and sat back on the bench. The familiar gesture of the cigarette held between my fingers gave me a good sense of recovery. I felt more like a cigarette in my hand, and I was glad that I was cautious and took two packs with me. Who knows how much I must to stay in this prison on the rails. The order of thoughts was, however, cut, fragmented, like a sheet of paper broken and scattered in pieces. I started gathering, thinking, taking it back, rebuilding the route from the purchase of the tickets on the site and until now, where I was waiting for a follow-up or a final … What kind of finale? The end of any trip is the proposed destination, my original destination disappeared and now I had to take another mark if I wanted to stay with my mind. Let’s make some calculations, of what I have never liked, “if a train starts at X and goes at speed Y, calculate how long it gets to …” In this equation, I only knew the place and time of departure, and I had an approximation of the time I arrived. At dawn … What time did it mean, at dawn? I remembered the headband on the bench, the blue collar of the shirt, the white-bearded beard …
This was! What I got rid of was the Controller’s look. That annoying mix of “I know something you do not know,” a kind of curiosity to see how I react, a vague sense of mercy as a rest of a decision already taken, all seemed familiar to me, and I did not remember why. The look seemed to be recreated, recomposed and offered like a clue. And suddenly, I remembered.
It has been his look , the last night I saw. He stood by the kitchen wall, tapping the phone, writing messages, answering messages, preoccupied, distracted, slightly confused, and at the same time he looked at me the way the Controlor had done it. That early evening of the end.
I clarified the problem that bothered me and I was expecting something to happen. Concrete. As with a “you look and win” game, I was expecting a prize, an explosion of confetti, a comfort on my forehead or at least the train slowing down. Something to show me I’m on my way, to solve the puzzle I have to solve, or to get any other clue what to do in that train. On the other hand, the pay-reward balance had to work, what else would the Universe or someone placed below in the hierarchy it have to reward you one way or the other, karma, zen and fengshui, blabla. But nothing happened. Revelation had brought nothing further into the train compartment, no movement, no adhesion. The Controller eventually appeared with a candy, “bravo, you figure out, you can go down to the first station.”
I watched my telephone watch, in an hour I should have reached the destination. I wondered if the one who was waiting for me would worry, or if any of my friends would realize I did not communicate in the usual way, did not send messages, did not put pictures on the train or any smart status, did not comment and I do not count on anywhere. Even if someone, real or online, would realize that something is wrong, communication involves interaction, who could find me in a closed train and locked like a fortress on the rails. And here I come to the “Princess Syndrome Closed in the Tower,” waiting for someone to save me secretly, although this process of salvation had never worked, every time it happened, the Prince saw his affairs again I chose the gown and the honor of the wrinkled, my hands and my soul groaned to the blood because I had to save myself. In addition, all the wonders of the technique had been damned by the lack of signal. Electricity was, in any case, I put the charger plugged into the phone. If I do not speak, least get the full battery.
The thought of the Controller’s candy made me realize that I was hungry. I did not have anything to eat in my backpack, I knew there was a restaurant wagon in the train, and anyway, for three and a half hours, I was not thinking of making food supplies. I did not even have a chocolate. And disaster, I had no coffee. As a flash, I remembered that when I was looking for crossing doors, I had seen a snack machine on the left side of the wagon and jumped up like a bow. I almost ran away, afraid I had been deceived or gone, anything could have happened, the Controller had clearly told me that anything was possible and I did not yet know what that meant. Miracle! The automat was there, stable, and loaded with chips, sweets, beverages and water. In front of the refrigerator, I realized I had not taken my card, so I ran, grabbed the card and came back. The automat machine did not go anywhere, it was stable and just as full. If the card payment was working and I was not forced to break it or open it with a wrench, it means that was part of the number one miracle. I chose a water, a sandwich, a chocolate and a cold coffee, inserted the card, typed the number, and the noise of the products falling in the bottom shelf brought me a happiness that I could not suspect. I took them out and I faced a dilemma: should I have to buy more or should I trust that it will remain for a future date? With confidence, I was already very insecure, but I decided that no matter what is the purpose of this experiment, it will not be a death by starvation, otherwise I would not have a closet full of food.
I went back to the compartment with my pockets, placed them on the table and began to unpack them out of the pack. With food on the table, the situation was no longer so desperate. And if I went to the logical thread, I’d get the candy-prize, which meant that the decripting of the Controller’s smile had been a first step for liberation.
–– Where are you?
Ella checks the message sent half an hour ago. It was not read.
She finished writing the response to a World Swamp about the status of forest mushrooms (baths, brother, everyone is a mushroom expert on fb) and wrote to Mara.
– Do you know anything about Diana? She left tonight, but I have no news, she did not answer the message.
– I have not talked to her today. Where did she go?
– To Gothenburg, at a conference.
– Ah, yes, she told me the other day. I forgot. Did you call her?
– Yeah, but she does not answer.
– She’s… you know she’s keeping the phone on the silence all the time.
– Yeah, but now it’s not ringing, it’s like the phone is closed.
– Or maybe she’s somewhere where she has no signal.
– Maybe. I ask Raisa what time it gets. I know she sent her, she probably has more data.
Raisa did not respond immediately, but over a quarter of an hour.
– What time does Diana go to Gothenburg?
– Before midnight, she left at eight. Why?
– She did not answer the messages or the phone.
– She had to go with people who went from here, it as a train at six in the afternoon, but she decided to go too late and found no ticket at that time. She said she was going alone and then she will take a taxi to the hotel, she had the address, however everything was settled by the organizers. I talked to her at eight o`clock, she was in the train station waiting for the train. I also send her message. She’s got his phone closed, maybe she’s sleeping.
– She does not sleep on the train. She can not sleep either in the car or on the plane. Probably does not have a signal. whatever, she manage it. But if you know anything about her, you can tell me too.
She wrote Mara.
– She left, she did not miss the train. She spoke to Raisa before she got up. It arrives at midnight, goes straight to the hotel. Maybe we’ll talk in the morning.
Loneliness and solitude have only the letter S in common. The first one makes you feel lost, to the second, you find yourself in your own will. Cleverness is to turn the first into the second but here is needed a therapist’s prestigious ability, there are not two or three quotes from Coelho. I was nor sitting to well to the syntactic and morphological analysis of soul or mind. Mara, my therapist girlfriend, says I’m a realist with idealistic accents, but those accents fall through the important parts of the personality, changing the sense of reality. And this does not seem to be a positive thing in terms of interaction with reality itself. Translated into my tongue by a man rather inclined to action than to psychological subtexts, I gave myself with the bottom of the ground quite often but I had a special relationship with luck, says my best friend, Ella, a woman anchored in reality and who shake me everytime I was filling with dust. If she knew where they were now she would exclaim, “Cool! girl, how can you get all the time in trouble? ”
I thought like a philosopher, somewhat more reconciled, I had eaten, drunk, and some fears had disappeared. Now, at least, I did not expect a monster under the bench to come out, and I did not want to believe the end of the trip could be an explosion like in the movies. The thought to the girls was somewhat peaceful, I knew that Ella would be worry if I do not give any sign of life, Raisa would find out if I did not get to the conference tomorrow, and the fact that someone would feel my lack and look for me, somehow calm me. I do not like loneliness and I have never had the ambition or the desire to mask it in solitude and the fact that I was alone in the train that went in the night was a damn challenge. For now, the train did not offer me any choice but sit and wait, and that was definitely not one of my favorites. In addition, the idea of being the subject of unusual experiences, the jumping without any warning in a fantastic absurd, as it seemed to be the situation in which I did not find myself, was hard to accept. I was still trying to figure out what I was looking for, and why a ordinary, banal journey had become strange and bizarre, but I decided to be patient, they were challenging and following the Controllor’s advice. Try to relax. Slappna av, I said, I do not know how to translate correctly because it does not have the right correspondent, it means disconnection, it leaves behind, you get off, and the Swedish word seems to me the most appropriate in context. I lay out on the bench and opened the phone, even if I was without the Internet, I could look at the pictures and messages stored in my memory. I was not a great photographer, always missing my eye for details, without focus, and with my finger appeared too many times in photos, but since it had become a must to take pictures and put the on facebook, I was doing selfies or shooting landscapes and events. We also try to capture moments and feelings for everyone, and some of my private life I have seen in public pictures. On this occasion, I noticed that I had not done enough time in the phone and that I had in my memory a lot of pictures, uncharted for years. I think half of them were with Ella.
About two years after the sudden and unexpected emigration, I felt quite acutely the need and the lack of friends, of those with whom interaction is not just a formal out to a coffee in an afternoon where you may have nothing to do. Razvan had noticed that I did not really like his friends, and I had a few talks about this after I had made efforts to fit in and did not get out too well. I was trying to explain him that, for me, the friendship has a different meaning, it’s not just a mutual exchange of services or an invitation to an anniversary where you bother politely. A friendship is directly related to the soul, it’s a connection that I felt almost every time, and it is much more than a discussion about the Swedish tax system, the state of the day or the possibilities to find a job. And as I wasn`t like so much formalizations and labeling, my attitude was considered a social inadaptability. At home, I had some good friends, but the distance, the lack of frequent contact and the exposure to another type of life, with other coordinates, make their mark on the old ties and most of them erode irremediably. In the meantime, I sent an add to those I found in the area, I went out to coffee with about two or three people but nothing consistent. With two exceptions, the people I’ve met so far only came for a cofee, because it was missing that special click, the moment of sincerity, and the fusion that needed to name a relationship, friendship.
Ella had written a funny status about the race through the shops, a common thing in the holiday season after the winter holidays, I laughed with all my face, so I immediately sent her a request for friendship. In the following months we talked about each other, we came across common points, we talked privately, and at one point we set the meeting. Actual meetings of people who have already met on facebook have no major surprises, are natural and somehow comfortable as a follow-up. We wanted to eat together at a restaurant in the center, and finally, the two hours scheduled at noon had been extended until the evening, we had so much to tell, there were two full lives, and each was separate in two, like a line drawn with a scalpel: before and after emigration. From that moment, my existence in the foreign city received the missing piece and went into the kind of normality it needed. Apart from disputes or discussions on facebook, we support each other during the long winters when, due to lack of sunshine, seasonal depression is specific and does not forgive anyone, whether locals or emigrants. Then we were looking forward to the summer. I say to everyone, I am in love with the Swedish summer, for me there is no more beautiful summer, despite the lower temperatures than I used to be. Together with Ella, and thanks to her, I came to know Swedish life with her simple pleasures at the top of the art of living in true harmony with nature. I discovered the archipelago, rocks, forests, swam in the cool northern sea, picking mushrooms and forest fruits, integrating archaic gestures into a natural civilization. Between us, it was not necessarily the likeness, in fact, the likeness was the temperament, and that made us both, but there was much understanding and complicity in accepting each other with good and evil. Ella was sincere and direct, a woman who saw people directly in depth, bypassed falsities, and noticed any disagreement, sensed the essence, and brought him forward with the ease that I envied her; I am just stubborn and needless to be right . In case of divergence, the understanding between us was that would be resolved on the spot, open, without any resentment or thought hidden. And we kept our promise, I said. I touched the photos one by one, “ah, there I was … there I did … ha! I forgot about this thing, “and I’m glad I had them there, with me.
The pictures with Raisa were much less, her Facebook account was for duties more then fun. Raisa is a savior, this is she. Save cats, dogs or people, do not count, for her the souls of living beings were equally equal. She was the kind of innate activist, whose role and purpose was to devote himself to others naturally, with an infinite capacity to understand without judging and giving without asking for anything. Sometimes she needs to temper it, I said it was too much giving, because all the energy consumption was happening to the detriment of her private life. I met her after a facebook event that I came from because of my big mouth, one of those that turns online into real and concrete actions. I had with her the same click and the same sense of old acquaintance, brought back on a common path by virtue of new happenings. In addition, between me and her cat, a saved from euthanasia many years ago, who believe that he is human or a dog, had been love at first sight. I went to help her panic after an out-of-the-box battle with injured and broken nails, we struggled for an hour to tie the bandages and he had dropped in less than five minutes after which she fell asleep without pain while I was comforting him. Wow! The tomcat came to visit me for days, honored as a guest visage, and I was both joking that in a future life, Thomas would turn into the ideal man, the one with the text attached “forever.” A strange thing, because I was rather a dog person, I loved dogs, I had a dog in Romania, taken from the shelter, raised in the yard as a member of the family, and his memory barked even now in my dreams with the remorse. I had gone and left him without any concrete plan. My family had given it to someone in the country and I did not know anything about him, in the few short and rare visits I made at home, I did not have time to look for him, and I never saw him before.
Home. What does mean home for people like us?
In the darkness the cat looked black, it was almost unseen, a shadow sliding silently across the wall. The illusion salesman was there, opening the offer of chimeras and ilusions with wide movements as if he was making blankets. There were pictures, scenes from past films, two hands holding a head bowed above the table, a green water from the top of a mountain, a boat on a red sunset, a thick candle melted in a glass, mixed with blurry projections from a future stretched out like a sheet on the wire. . Rough and rigid charts of cracks that were cracked here and there, cut off pieces of penumbra realities, large shavings with sharp corners, or colored beads were scattered across the floor with darkness. The free hands of the salesman drew, delineated, opened, erased the errors with the palm of the palm, or unfolded them in the fan, placing them orderly.
– – See, my dear, any concrete object, however simple it may seem, possesses a multitude of aspects, attributes or relations, which can not all be surprised at the same time by a single analyst. You will get rid of the shadow or the blue shard that would fit perfectly, embellish the decor, or give it a different meaningThe image of perception resembles what you are looking for but differs from what you feel. Moreover, you are analyzing with heart. Wrong. . I see is not enough, I feel is insufficient. . You have to breathe equally, again and again until you hear the whispers of the storm and the silence of the stone, or look, touch with your fingers this design on the till it get in your fingerprints. Only then will you know.
– I should meditate, you say. . I can not, I’m alive and my blod is flowing in my veins. I tried, it’s hard and I think it’s not for me. I’m afraid of stillness, I’m afraid when I sit and time is running out of the way around me, I’m afraid to get stuck without chance and without resolutions. And now I know why I called you. I want to take illusions from you and turn them into deeds, I know the process, it’s not that easy but I’ve already applied it so many times, I recorded losses, it’s true, but it gives me more and now I would like to extend it beyond me.
– There was a time when I was selling cheap to anyone. Today I am rich, illusions are expensive, are precious and highly sought after. I can sell you even if it’s more expensive than it used to be. But I allow myself to be generous, I give you a bonus coupon, free advice because you are a loyal buyer. It’s easier to make only your dresses, it’s important to like what you see in the bathroom mirror. Let others buy their illusions, too.
I slept with the phone in my hand, and more, I dreamed, when I thought I heard a noise in the wagon, other than those that were repeating monotonously. I jumped, stunned and standing up, coming up in case of need or coming out, see if the noise was real. The confusion was even more as the impressions of the dream persisted in my mind, and it seemed to me that there were important things to remember, that illusion salesman had visited me several times and brought a message every time with him. I decided to think about it later, after I clarified if the noise was real or it had come from the dream. I looked around after some sort of weapon but I had nothing to look like a blunt object except half-naked water glass. Or the boots I had unwrapped when I lay out on the bench. I took one of the laces, opened the door slowly and carefully, did not see and did not hear anything, the aisle seemed as empty and as silent. It was quiet, and yet I had the impression that something had changed, as if light had fallen from the wagon, but I was not quite sure. With the boot held well in my hand, with the soles ready for attack, I went out in my socks and I made the round again, throwing an eye in each compartment. At the end I looked again, long, to the wall without the crossing door and I sighed, the word comes, I said “fuck this shit”, stressed and nervous.This was not a dream, there was simply no pass.
I returned to the compartment with the boot tongue sadly hanging up. I closed the door behind me, I drank water, then opened it again, letting the air circulate. It made no sense to get intoxicated with the smoke of my own cigarettes; a sliding door would not have defended me at all if someone had decided to do me any harm.
Looking back, retrospectively, all my “rational” decisions, thought and analyzed, later turned out to be a fiasco or a sum of unsuccessful actions, while instinctual instincts, called mad decisions dictated only by primary emotion and without an apparent logic sense, these were the ones that mattered, those with the core, the defining ones. Those that changed my life.
Without being clairvoyant or possessing I do not know what extrasensory skills, my dreams have been a kind of warning guide. Dreams came from the devil, my grandmother told me, and I inclined to give her right because hell is in us, I know it exists, I know how it smells, there is a step, a line of demarcation, and he competes with happiness, heaven we all aspire. Over time, too many strange coincidences or contradictions have surprised me and I cannot denial the unconscious. This kind of warning made me feel better because it brought me extra attention and caution. Well, I opened my eyes better to what is happening around me, so I did not go down in the pits so deep.I agreed with Freud (ha-ha), dreams came from a subconscious that we do not take into account every day, but that is full of old and new information, classified, forgotten, seen with the tail of the eye, considered initially unimportant but coming to the surface when we need them. A real deposit with surprising things, from accumulated emotions, hidden themes or ideas, comfortably denied and to repressed needs. Only the presence of the cat in the dream had an explanation, I had looked at the photos of the Raise before falling asleep. Otherwise, in my dreams I am myself, an I who was looking at another prism, from a certain distance, because of that I had confidence in them and I was trying to find objective meanings. I had dreamed of Razvan without having exchanged a word with him and not even interested me in any particular way. It was a name in a facebook group where we comment on every evenings, but I noticed that he was not in the country, that he lived far away and had a profile photo I looked at, a little longer. He seemed to have broad shoulders and I liked her eyes. Although it has been several years, I still remember the dream. He was in my bedroom, he was not saying anything, he was sitting nearby my bed and looking at me with a slightly embarrassed smile, as if he did not know what she was looking for. He made no gesture but was so close and so perceptible that I could have touched him if I raised my hand. I also know that I had woken up with a feeling that was hard to describe, namely that he was really there, or a strong projection of him because I had felt her physically, felt the shape, the space in which he had appeared seemed recently replaced. I have always wondered whether it was a dream, or whether the power of the hell, which seems to amplify states, desires, and sensations, was so great as to create a bridge beyond the material..Then he told me in one of the moments of sincerity that he had studied me intense and look a lot to my pictures, especially one in which I were wearing shorts and a t-shirt more … .uhm .. the summers were extremely warm in the city where I was living then.
The message of the dream had remained in my memory with the vicious face of the salesman. “Let others buy their illusions” came somewhat in addition to what the Controller had told me. The ticket, payment or information is of no value at this time. Let others buy their illusions. The very way that every word was made of me was strange, it sounds like a record. The truth was somewhere there, but I did not know where to look and I was exasperate searching for causes and reasons They all were wise, they all knew something I did not know, and now the salesman came to tell me that, oh, I knew without knowing.
Then, suddenly, I realized that something had really changed. The train had slowed down, no longer speeding
8. A station
He had, of course, slowed down. I looked at my watch, it was 11:44, in a minute I should have reached the station. And get off the train. I stood up and began to gather my stuff in my backpack, fast, feverish …
Maybe the doors were open, maybe I could get off. Maybe, in fact, I had found myself in a wrong wagon, a special wagon for the safety stuff or something, that’s why it was missing passageways. Probably the fact that I was alone in the entire wagon was due to my error, maybe I was simply in the wrong place. Maybe that Controller with his words was all but in my imagination and everything was part of an incident without any implications, which I had given him dramatic dimensions. In a second, a thousand thoughts came to my mind, all of them tangled, but priority was the hope and relief that I was approaching the end.
I came at the front door with my backpack and everything. When the train stopped at the station, the doors would open, there would be people there, I could knock in the window, somebody would see me. In a fraction of a second I remembered that I had once been in the subway, had reached the end of a line, everyone had descended, the subway had entered the depot, I, of course,busy with the phone, in a heated conversation on facebook, I did not notice that I was left alone till the lights turn off. A woman inspecting the platform saw me and told me to stay quiet, the train started back in a few minutes, Răzvan, whom I had called to tell him that I checked the target of the Stockholm depot, laughing, shaking her head at my the confusion. It all ended without any trace, with the usual conclusion, “Be more careful”
The train crawled slowly, but I could not see lights and buildings as it should have been at the entrance to the city. I was once in Gothenburg, last years, also by train, but it was summer in the light, and I did not remember too many details of the station, Impatient, I tried to see something, but the darkness was glued to the windows, there was nothing, no silhouette, nothing, no sign that I had come to somewhere.
Whisper to the whistle, the heavy breathing of the train that stops, the familiar shriek, of rails that oppose the sliding of the wheels, but nothing happens.
Then an oblique and prolonged lightning flash as the sign of an ECG on a monitor appeared in the night and the train started to take speed again. Horror, I began to cry: No! Not! Stop! I have to get out! I have to get out! and shake that cursed handle that did not climb a millimeter. It`s not true, it could not be! Stop! It had to end up beautifully, with some emotion, with a drop of adrenaline and suspense, with me getting down on the platform easily, laughing and telling the girls how I get in a wrong wagon. It was all wrong!
I let go of the handle, with force, the train got speed and I was unbalanced, I fell on the wagon floor, angry, frustrated and without solutions. I stayed on the floor, my knees gathered to my chest, my cry in my throat, and the Controller’s words echoing in my mind as if they were shouting in a speaker.
“The train will not stop where you want it. The train will not stop where you want it”.
The biggest surprise in Stockholm was the silence. Coming from Romania, Balkan temperament, accustomed to the noise and the noise, was the first difference that really impressed me. The silence seemed to be the main feature of the city. Except for the crowded center and the historic perimeter of the old town, Gamla Stan, there was a quiet Sunday morning in the neighborhoods every day. The sirens are heard sporadically, the traffic is oriented towards highways, drills, drill walls or high voices are heard so rarely that they seem accidental. Quietness and calm seemed to be common not only to the city but to its people. I envied the Swedes for their mastery, the way they were educated to solve and settle the divergences or problems that appeared to me slowly and slowly, hiding in it a way of life different from what I had known before. Tar det lugnt and vänta lite. Take it easy and wait a little, probably the words I heard most often in these years. Stockholm is a city in a forest, the Swedes have kept their trees, the space, clean air unpolluted, and drinking water at the kitchen faucet. The high-rise neighborhoods are surrounded by broad parks and forests, I lived for a while at a few minutes away from a small lake. Not only humans but animals have other behaviors, after the initial wonder I realized it was the result of many years of protection and a written and unwritten, non-aggression pact. Dogs do not bark, rabbits hinder you in the alleys of the park, deer can only be a few meters away from people’s paths. I was telling to myself, jokingly, that Iam in heaven, between man, animal and nature the relationship seemed untouched, natural. The Swedish society was one where the confrontation or effort was kept at a minimum, and it worked on coordinates other than those I knew, and after a lifetime of struggle for anything that had been a main engine, I had a strange sensation from the beginning relaxation.
That’s what I was thinking in the silence of the compartment where I had come back after the failed attempt to get down where my destination should have been that night. The crisis of anger followed, followed by a rebellion, but neither the anger nor the revolt had a definite object against which to turn, I reassured myself. Of necessity. I needed to keep my mind clear and clear to see what I was getting into. And ask me again, the essential question. Why? It seemed to me that the event surpassed my understanding, and no matter how much I tried to find a logical explanation, none came to my mind. So I decided to let go of the train, the fate or the chance at the moment. Kind of what it is, in the absence of any other possibility of action. Fear of death I had lost some time ago, another event that had shown me how easy it was to lose everything in a moment of madness or inattention. In truth, hard lessons did not necessarily bring me miraculous comprehensions, and wisdom was, eh, slightly elsewhere, but then I had a sort of revelation of the finality that gave the events another dimension, or I was looking at them in another light. It was much easier now to accept anything that would follow. So I tried to relax with the breathing techniques I had learned at yoga classes, always started, never seriously continued. In the last few years, contact with different people, new cultures, new habits and traditions had lit up my curiosity and tried all sorts of experiences. Some of them thera are a part my everyday life. In spite of the natural process of acquaintance with the Swedish environment, I have been to Buddhist meditations, to Indian ceremonies, to Arabic restaurants where water pipes were smoked, to latino parties with tacos and fajita, I learned to cook Chinese food and enjoy any novelties that I get out of the comfort zone. Over time, I learned a few exercises that induced a state of calm and I even managed to meditate once. Stretched on the train seat I began to breathe as I learned, breathe in, inspire with surplus oxygen, fill the lungs, let the air load for a few seconds, breathe out, long, quiet, free up the thought and the fright.
Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in.
The thing with breathing, zen and integration in absolute was not going well, I could not get the craving state of relaxation. Okay, the zen would have been stupid, as I did not see anything that would justify a positive attitude or some free optimism spread across the face. I went to the automat box to get some coffee, the night would be long, until dawn was a lot and I did not want to fall asleep, I wanted to stay awake, lucid for anything that would have happened. I took the glass of cold coffee out of the appliance and gathered my lips, which would have caught a hot coffee.
Swedes are among the biggest coffee consumers, they drink coffee at any hour of the day and night, it was my joy because I am a caffeine addict in large quantities. Razvan had a modern coffee maker but never used it, he prefers the coffee made on the kettle, after a ritual I learned quickly. In the area I came from, I used espressoes that took out a concentrated and strong coffee, so the whole process of cooking seemed archaic and fascinating. The beaten brass stick with a wooden tail, blackened from so much use, the long teaspoon, water to the lip of the kettle, two teaspoons of sugar, three coffee spoons added when the water began to boil. Mix only from top to bottom, gently, a few times, until the foam rises. Swedish coffee has a fantastic flavor, that’s why the moment was always special, we suck it open with nostrils and let it penetrate me through all the pores. Most of the times the gesture of making coffee in the morning ended in white and long nights, pointing moments and conclusions before bedtime. In the silence traversed by the sound of a radio that was never stopped, the simple and familiar routine helped me clarify my thoughts, bring me clarity and then a good night’s sleep. At the hospital, one of my colleagues, an Iranian, a woman good och soft like hot bread, make this kind a coffee from time to time in the kettle and put aside for me a bigger portion, and her care added added significance to a common gest. How much I wanted a hot coffee!
I sat back on the couch in the compartment, sipping from the cold plastic glass, with the phone becoming useless and reopening the picture file, looking for one specially. Memories have their strange and curious route, they go from one to the other, straddling a thread that does not necessarily follow a logic in connections and connections, and escapes the stated will.
In the end, the photos are stones in the way of forgetfulness, you stop for a second, remember a chance, resume a state, remember it, move on to another, a kind of ping-pong of emotions. Memories are a strange process, I wondered sometimes what if we lived with memories in sight, instead of hiding them through dusty synapses. Actually, that’s what we do. Imortalizing moments of joy, sadness, ecstasy, happiness is perhaps the worst invention of all because it does not use anything. We film the concert instead of listening to it, capturing the landscape elements instead of looking at it, shooting our friends instead of holding them in us, doing ourselves so we do not forget who we are, then wipe the phone memory when we no longer need them. When I moved to Sweden, among the few things I took in two suitcases, there were some photos I do not know if I ever looked because the detachment was so clear and concrete that life split into two: here and there, before and after, and the newly discovered sensations, the challenges, the effort and the novelty took the place of all the others lived until then.
The picture I was looking it was done on my first plane flight, and it was black and white by error, because I am not good at the phone settings. I had flown with the plane once, so long ago, so much that now it was the first time, and everything that is the first time is left in memories, intact, indelible, tasteless and odorless oblivion. I even remember the place on the plane, window in the right, two rows in the back. After that, in all flights, I kept the same place, and I wondered now whether it was proof of trying to relive the experience “the first time” when I was on the window the entire flight without fear, with my dreams, hopes and with my crazy confidence.. I remember the sky was incredibly clear, the sea seemed frozen with white crests of foam, I was thirsty to see, I was hungry to feel, and I was looking for signs in the horizon suddenly without lines and no cardinal points . I started to laugh. Well, maybe I did not complain about it, this was the first time I was not locked up in a train, alone, with an unknown destination. I have closed the picture file, with or without them, memories remain in memory and that’s it, it’s not easy to delete them.
We’re all stardust.
Last post on fb there was a beautiful sky photographed, NASA image, of course, with the text “we are all star dust.” I did not see comments or likes, it was just a picture that stuck in the phone. Don t know anything about my star, but I was certainly dust. A piece of dust carried around, trying to understand something of the meaning of life and what happened.
– Which time you finish classes?
– Three o`clock, it’s Friday, today we finish earlier
-Ok, three o`clock I will be in the parking. Hurry, please, reception closes at four o’clock, it snowing like hell, and I think it’s going to be a blockade on the highway. You got everything you need? We do not have time to go over your place.
-Yes, I threw some clothes in my purse and told Mr.Tudor that I will be back on Sunday. We could go faster, but we have a test at two o’clock. I’m trying to make it quick and get out. I can not write anymore, my teacher ask me something. In Swedish, you realize.
At Swedish school we were grouped by studies and by English knowledge. In my class, adults of all ages, from twenty to sixty years old, were an interesting, varied and cosmopolitan mix. People have just arrived here all over the world and quickly connected in friendships without account of their age, race or nationality. I was the only Romanian in the classroom.
In a few minutes there was a break, at noon we had an free hour. Etienne signaled to me that he was preparing to go down for smoking a cigarette. Jose had already dressed and drew the hat on his forehead. The Frenchman lived in Paris, had recently moved with his lover in Stockholm, they had an agreement to live six months in a row in both cities, but he said he found his place hard, he did not like it in particular, and is looking forward to returning to France. Spaniard Jose was married to a Swedish and was expecting a child. He was an open man who was joking all the time, his interventions during classes were often breaking monotony, he was found by everyone a source of good mood for the whole class. “And I find it hard but I hope to find it easier to work here than in Spain, it was telling us by pulling out of the cigarette, we are in crisis and unemployment is breaking you.” The Nigeria guy joined us, black, big and stitched afro, looking at the snowflake that had started for a few days and never stopped. He did not wear gloves, leaned, and filled his big hands with her. He made a bullet which he then threw down cheerfully. He had not seen snow before.
I had a close relanshiop with a long-haired Indian, a Brazilian girl and a Japanese. We were all four out of coffee for breaks and shopping for hours. Indianca, Soraya, she was very beautiful, she had a PhD in social science and an eight-year-old boy. She was sure she had done well when she had married with her Swedish husband. She had a son from a previous marriage and wanted her a better education for her son. And it’s a very good place for women, usualy says, taking me by arm. Iris, the Brazilian was always full of energy. “Well, I do not understand, everyone here is tired at five o’clock in the afternoon. I go out with my man at the club or elsewhere in the evening, I always want to dancing, walking, cooking, it bother me when I see his friends so bored and blazing. ” The Japanese came from a family of artists and was involved in a project between the two countries, and she left us quite fast after a few weeks. At school, we had seats in the same bank, we formed groups where we talked about the themes, we supported and encouraged each other, we knew something of the past lives and the future dreams of each one.
When I remember that period I have a single word, disorientation. Almost all of us who were there were disoriented, clinging to hopes, unclear targets, with low self-confidence- We no longer refer to what we knew, to what was familiar to us, but to newly assimilated knowledge, the safeness of family, friends and the familiar environment disappeared. It was a constant chase after the tips, we exchanged information, we taught each other, we learned and shared each other with sources of documentation and legislation. There was a sort of fraternity and friendship that went beyond any boundaries and brought us to a common denominator. We were all emigrants.
The full-time school was a new experience after so many years of work. I was enrolled in intensive classes, I had hours in the morning and the afternoon but I did not seem to make any progress and I was very dissatisfied with my level. Swedish was hard to learn, I had no appetite for the Germanic language group, I had learned English from school for a long time, more from TV and reading articles on the Internet, and it and I was at a level satisfactory. Priority was, however, the need to learn to speak the language of the country where we are, at least at a basic level so that I can find a job. It was obvious that, with little Swedish knowledge, there were poor chances, and rent money and daily living quickly became dull. The teachers I had were very attentive and encouraged without limits, every progress was praised and highlighted, at first it seemed embarrassing and childish, but in time I found that this kind of attitude was somewhat expanded and generalized at the society level, a way I were not used to. The emphasis on personal performance was a particular way of getting the best out of people, and me, competitive and slightly insecure, certainly stimulated me. The school was free of charge, I did not even pay for pens, she had psychological and professional counseling, internship offers, and job training, of those required on the labor market in Sweden that were running parallel to the language. Teacher’s duty was to teach not only Swedish but also principles of integration into everyday life with its specificity, some history, legislation, practice applied to the daily, generalities that some of us thought to be trivial, but which we later found, were extremely useful for many of those who were not Europeans.
In the hall I met Kostandin, the Albanian I had given him a link, and helped him complete his request for a bus driver course. He embraced me exuberantly.
-They accepted me! I start the course in January. I succeeded, after the course I get a job directly from them. I’m really happy, I can not imagine a better job for me, my dream was to get bus driver.”
It was the best news someone could give you, finding a job was an event you were congratulated for and envied by the whole class. I gathered him in my arms, I wanted tocontaminate with his joy, to keep the strain of aspirations and desires that make you happy in her place in the possible area.
After the lunch break, we returned to the classroom. We had a new colleague from South Africa, a beautiful and exotic blonde, I knew her well then, she was one of those rare, open and empathic men in the presence of whom you feel good right away without knowing why. The teacher told us that he speak eleven languages, South Africa has nine official dialects, different languages, plus English and German, Swedish was twelfth. Since we already knew what the assimilation of a foreign language means, we were all impressed. The protocol required the newcomer to come forward, say his name, the country, and some things about him, and then follow us, the rest of the class. Prior to the break, I followed a projection of the pupil’s visit to a Stockholm museum, the last picture in the film was on the blackboard, and the name of the Swedish coffin name, kista, was the same as the name of the neighborhood where I first lived I had come to Stockholm, Kista, there was an accent difference there. When I came to introduce myself, I took my breath in. ”
– Jag heter Diana, jag kommer från Transsylvanien och jag bodde i Kista (my name is Diana, I come from Transylvania and lived in a coffin).
After the first the moment the teacher looked at me surprised, he began to laugh, then the others also realized and started to laugh and to ask me to show him the vampire tines. I told them that only men become vampires, the women of Transylvania are, instead, witches. Theacher, who already knew me quite well, knew my frustration, I was crying a few times for the inability to learn well enough, she quickly turned to me and told me warmly.
– See, Diana, when you can joke in a foreign language, it’s called you started talking.
I wrote the test with a smile on my lips, serene and reconciled for the first time since I started school.
The phone vibrated briefly in my pocket.
I’m in the parking. Have you finished?
I was looking through the mail and suddenly, I remembered that Mr. Tudor told me he was coming to me next week, he had taken flight tickets, he and his wife had their annual appointments to their doctor. But if I do not get home anymore? Well, if the train does not let me down somewhere, there will be more people who will look for me.
I found a rent at Mr. Tudor, had a free room in a spacious three-room apartment in a good area, close to the metro. They had only one child, a boy who had moved back to Romania years ago, was married, and he had a boy so I heard him crying on Sunday morning, every Sunday morning, when they talked to Skype. The housing situation in Stockholm was exasperating. It was very difficult to find a rent, the offer was ridiculous, the owners allowed themselves to demand enormous rents and to select the tenants according to all sorts of criteria and the income situation was at the forefront. The room was empty for many years, for me it was like an oxygen supply, the situation was quite tense, at that moment I hardly saw an exit and there was not much solution available.
After all, it was good, they accepted me, they adopted me quickly, they helped me to complete Swedish acts, and they always gave me advice that I, ungrateful, checked on the net. In their way They were looking so much like my parents that I sometimes get desperate. I was leaving in my house since I was twenty years old and now I was forty and return in a similar company. I said it was a lesson to learn here. In their home they spoke Romanian, they ate Romanian, discussed Romanian politics and kept a respectable distance towards everything that meant Swedish. It has been difficult for me to understand some attitudes until I have heard stories before de Romania entrance in Europena Union, the former emigrants have been dependent on the authorities’ pleasure, a benevolent, right, but complex, addiction. Missing home feeling, in turn, is a national specific, I have seen it in many families of Romanians, manifested by a difficulty of integration and a separation from the foreign environment manifested even after many years of living in the adoptive country. Meanwhile, all financial efforts and all the emotional availability go to the “home”: holidays made entirely in Romania, money sent for the construction of houses or for helping the remaining relatives in the country, a whole existence built temporarily with only one final goal: returning home .
My hosts were no exception. They were both waiting for retirement just as a detainee is waiting for release from prison, looking forward with future calculations and long talks on skype about the state of the yard, the vine and the trees in the garden. It was difficult for me to understand a lifestyle based on expectation and a sort of exclusive projection of life in the future, beyond everyday reality, but all of them were in Romania, their souls were there, so there was nothing to be judged and nothing to ask. Maybe just wondering.
The Christmas of that first year would have been, however, much harder to bear without them. We had some quarrels with Razvan, and we both kept silent, each waiting for the other to break the ice. I could not do it. It was winter vacation, it was hard to have nothing to do, and my thoughts were gathered. At school, a few days before, we had a party that turned into a kind of saddle, no one was dancing or celebrating, we all stood on the seats in the circle and told us the Christmas customs, each had something to say about the traditions of his country. The teachers looked at us with understanding, they knew that the holidays would be the most difficult. We exchanged gifts, listened to American carols, and tried to smile as we almost all were tears in the eyes. I wondered why the hell I was not there, nothing would have stopped me, the plane was cheap, and in fact I was only a few hours away, it was not much. In secret, however, we hoped that the situation of Răzvan would be straightened and we would spend the holidays together, it would be my first holidays away from home. Only my stubbornness and my pride were to blame, but it was nothing new, many times, I was my only enemy.
The city was adorned festively, lighted, the shops open and full with people. On the facebook was full of sarmale, traditional cakes and carols, and I did not know how to break the obligatory festive atmosphere I had seen everywhere. I was totally out of the bustle and crowd, I only bought some presents for my hosts, and I had a symbolical Christmas tree that I put in a vase, hanging a globe and candles. Nothing else, no ribbons, no leap. In December, the night leaves at three in the afternoon, and in the morning it lights up late, the darkness was everywhere, well, it was a lot of snow. That year everything was like a fairytale. Just in one, the alleys of the park had to be cleaned every night, I saw from the window of my room the machines working ghostly when the snow stopped. In the Christhmas Eve I went to Santa Klara, a church in the center where Christmas was held, there was not a lot of people and I sat there with a book of Swedish prayers in my hands, listening to the organ concert and the priest’s words in which I heard from time to time a familiar word with my head gone and a sadness that did not suit me at all, and certainly did not match the cheerful city and the atmosphere of celebration. I did not have the madness, the shopping tour, the cooking, the preparations for the carolites and guests, home, uf, at home I was the specialist of the family in the spawn salad. Now I was not preparing anything,
Mr. Tudor and Aunt Maria invited me to the Christmas dinner. They waited for me to come with a table set up, adorned, and we all ate, and drink a glass of wine. As usual, Mr. Tudor quickly became drunk and I spent a long, patient time smoking cigarette cigarettes, listening stories of his youth that I already knew because he repeated to me every time. Then I went to my room, to the people on facebook, there were fun there, at least there … I made jokes, I laughed, we were amused by missed cakes, we listened to carols posted by one and the other and we did talk and wishes by chats and posts. The morning, however, found me with eyes in tears, with an exceedingly missing with him, with sadness and without too many solutions.
A few days later me and Razvan we spoke, and as a measure of reconciliation we set out to make our New Year together. I began to feel alive and hopeful again. Mr Tudor had guests for the New Year’s Eve, and insisted on staying with them and I felt sorry to refuse them. I promised to make the cake and stay close to midnight, and drink a glass of champagne, romanian New Year’s Eve was anyway an hour earlier. Then I go to Razvan.
At the metro station I realized I had forgotten the wish list for the new year, the one I have been writing religiously every time, for a couple of years now. I put on a piece of paper all the desires, everything I dreamed of being fulfilled next year. I had forgotten or lost it, I did not know, I was completely overwhelmed. I sat down on the bench, found an empty envelope in the bag, and I wrote it again, feverishly, the year is not suppose to come without written, clear intentions. My wishes seemed almost impossible for an emigrant who had landed in a foreign country for only a few months, without too many plans and without knowing exactly what is he doing. In a strange way, however, the city was dear to me and I had a good feeling After too many questions and hesitations, the decision was finally taken. I wanted to find a job as soon as possible, I was told I was receiving the papers for the Swedish legmitation after the holidays. I had to go fast and learn the language better. I wanted a house of mine, the Transylvanian from me could liveo only in its place, it struck me to stay in a foreign house after a lifetime I had my personal order. I wanted to love without waiting, to be loved for what I am, I put it on paper too, it seemed so hard to find a way not to have to give up at me if I wanted to stay with him and that It brooked my heart more than any other desire. I put the paper in my pocket, my personal ritual demanded that the desires be as close as possible to the body, otherwise it would not be so magic.
There was not much people in the subway, it was quite late, maybe half an hour before the change of the year, most people were already in the city, waiting with champagne in their hand. I knew there would be a lot of people in the center, and I chose a station to descend, not very crowded, near a bridge I knew well, we stood there a few times, both of us, staring at the trains. From above, I could see the show in the air. I arrived only a few minutes before midnight, it was not very cold, it was not snowing and it was surprisingly clear. The artillery exploded in the air from several parts, Slussen was on the right, it was the most spectacular place, but they were all over, the sky was full of light and trap. Next to me stopped a car, the taxi driver descended quickly, we were only two on the bridge, the city’s fortitude was underneath, and we watched with a wide smile lit by fire. His name was Nassour from Iraq, foreigners say their names, tell you where they are from and ask where you are from, physical data and accent are easily recognizable in the blond, cosmopolitan city. I had a bottle of champagne to me, I asked him to help me open it, to be the complete ritual, he brought two plastic glasses from the car and drunk there on the bridge in the light of the turmoil unleashed by fireworks, bells and light from midnight.
He wondered if I wanted to go somewhere, I told him no, I needed a little time alone with my thoughts and wishes. We gathered our hands together, greeting each other and wishing many years with warmth, two foreigners speaking a common language on a bridge in Stockholm, wanting the same things for everyone’s life. Be Healthy. And peace. And understanding. And a little love would not hurt, said the man with his eyes blurred by the wind that had begun to sharpen or perhaps from memories. Let it be, we said, and we embraced together with a brotherhood that united two events in a second of the year that left, leaving new hopes. Let it be.
I sent a message to Răzvan
“Arrive in twenty minutes”
“Come, I’m waiting for you, I’m not open champagne without you”
-Yo! Are you there?
– When did you come from Spain?
– Last week.
– How was it?
– Superb, I’ll tell you. I met Ioana and the boys J, well, those two respected gentlemen who came down from online. OMG! It was crazy, I laughed non stop three days.
– I saw the pictures. Very nice. But it’s a shame, though, that you choose your conventional destinations.
– For me, they’re not conventional at all. I went, first of all, because I wanted to meet these people. Oh, and I’m in love with Spain, there’s something there, I do not know … I think I have to go a couple of times, to make it clear, I have a very interesting feeling, I’ll tell you this too. How have you been?
– Nothing new, I turned around in the house, hardly if I worked, I tried to solve all sorts of trouble. It sounds like nothing is going well. And I have an absurdly confusing mood. I have not been out for a while, I`ve become a little antisocial lately.
– I’m sorry, something special happened?
– No, nothing, it irritates me all kinds of stuff. Finally, it doesn t matter, I’ll fix it. You know, it started the film festival, it’s all kinds of productions. Do you wanna go out one night?
– At the movie? Sure. When and where?
– Well, I do not know. We can choose. I’m sending you the list, look at the films, see which matches your schedule, I do not know when you’re free. I’m indifferent to which of them.
– It’s one Friday afternoon. From five. Friday and Saturday I`m not working.
– Perfect. After the movie we can go to your place. Do you have whiskey or something to drink? We’re in the mood.
– We find something. I think there is more left in the bottle last time, just you drank from it.
– Lissen, I have a request. At the shop next to you is a type of cheese pie, that round, with many sheets.
– And yogurt, right?
– Yes. Too bad you do not like scented sticks, I had some vanilla scent, I was bringing in, making atmosphere.
– Bleah. Honey, be careful, you’re talking in the wrong mess, I never needed a special atmosphere. Keep them for your romantic chicks with little flowers and sweet smells. Wait a minute, Ella calls me. I talk to her and come back. Brb.
Ella sent me a message.
– Coming to my place on Friday? As if you were free, we could go out with the boat.
– I can not, I just got a program with Razvan, we’re going to town, going to see a movie.
– Ella, pls, do not start.
– You should not go on. You know there’s not okay. There’s not going to be well..
– What? There’s nothing going on, we’re going to see a movie and so. We are free adults, each with his life.
– Hey, maybe he’s free. You are not.
I let the screen of the phone go dark, closing the conversation, and staying blank. That part of my life could be called a beautiful life, composed of different pieces that did not match each other. Like a hashtag. Like a puzzle you’re trying to get together. Or like a shaorma with everything. Little love, of course, some adrenaline, some adventure, many travels and departures, a reality run masked in entertainment, amusement and fun. Compromises. Just a few of them. I thought it was enough and I called it modesty or self-esteem.
When you’re happy with almost nothing, you’re choosing nothing. Learned lesson.
The blue treadmill of the train seat had a pattern with broken yellow lines, abstract, uneven segments. The armrests were lined with the same material, the handles were yellow. It looked like a perfect combination, suited, without anything sharp, nothing forced. And I remembered the idyll of the two boats that summer night that I had spent with Ella in the archipelago.
The blue boat I had come to was anchored by the island, in a small accessible bay. Later, another friend came with his boat, he also threw the anchor in the same place. The rocks on the shore were tall, wide and smooth, easy to enter and swim in the sea, the forest was a few yards behind. We took down, on the ground, blankets, books, coffee. I swam earlier, it was hot during the day, now we were all stay and tell stories, the temperature was low, it was cool but pleasant. In the Swedish archipelago the summer darkens come very late after midnight, but even then, there remains a diffuse light. The sunset became spectacular, the sky and the sea had an indescribable color game with thousands of shades and lights. Ella did not get enough to shoot. I stared at the sky and sea, barely breathing, then I noticed the love story of the two boats. There is no exaggeration, I saw the boats neatly drawn, caught in a kind of delicate love affair, like two shy lovers in the beginning. The yellow boat came very close to the blue one, slightly touching the bow, then went away, in a game that looked like an innocent and casual flirt. The blue boat seemed to be seduced. I told to the others, we had a little fun, made jokes, made pictures, then the men did a few maneuvers and put the boats to a safe distance from each other.
During the night I heard a deaf noise that I did not know where to get it, I was not used to sleeping on the boat and I do not know how to navigate at all. I stayed a long time, the noise was repeated. I slept my sleep so I quietly went out on the deck and drove down the shore to smoke a cigarette. It was late or early, it depends on what part of the night you look at. In the twilight light, I saw that those two boats have found themselves, that’s the word, they touched with infinite tenderness, gently sliding together on the quiet waves. And I realized, the unidentified sound came from the moment they reached each other, touching. I stood to look at them for a long time, no matter how unreal or unnatural, the yellow and the blue boats spokes, whispered, they seemed like two lovers who found a way to be together. And I knew that love should be, without struggles and contortions, without pain and without complications, slipping fluid and simple, just by force of gravity and unseen or barely felt waves.
I have not read philosophy, it is now too late, philosophy is read when you have unanswered questions, and, once, I had answer att all. I have not read psychology, I have been free of transactions, I have been afraid of details, I do not know how to play with mind, I’m losing and I choose my self with lost minds, wait, that’s the game with the orientation , the same way I loose myself on familiar roads. I just know simple games where the ball is thrown from one to the other, the game with the last word of the pheasant, plays with the date on a rough surface. firecircle is my favorite but I did not know you were going to take me there and you would get me through circles and patterns, I know you do not like balls, the circle is a ball without air and no content, the holes in memory also have the same shape and I did not want to tell you but I am scared by the cold and empty ones. and that game, with the hidden, undiscovered, with the revelation of any corner can be anything, whatever, according to the kind of light or the shadow that falls, I have seen that this can hide seconds or years, a deed or an accident, I saw just how simple a truth can be concealed, and only the accusing finger comes. it’s the game with the white lie. and yes, you can win or lose, but you’ll be a cheater.
I looked at my watch, it was only an hour after midnight. There was a lot of mail in my inbox, and because of the lack of occupation, on one hand, to divert my thoughts, on the other hand, I started to reread them. The mail had no answer, it was written in a moment of doubt, and I remember that Razvan had called for explanations.
I had a job, I got it quite easily. At the first interview, I was unable to answer anything. I was not used to interviews or job searches, I did not know what to offer, what to claim, what is required, or what is the agreed protocol. I started looking for information on how to introduce yourself to an employer, what to wear, how to move, how to talk, I always had a terrible fear of embarrassing or ridiculous situations. Of course, the hardest point was talking and undesrtnading Swedish. I was told at school that it was too early, that it would wait several months, but I did not have time anymore, the rent had to be paid and the account was empty. I applied in several places and I told myself, that’s it, I will present myself to all the interviews I’m calleo until I figure out what are the requests. Kind of training in progress.
The second interview was in a far area of the city, from home I should taking a bus, then continue with a pendeltåg, the pendulum train joining the north to the south of the city. I’m a disaster to the orientation, I always go in the opposite direction, I always walk out of the subway at the wrong exit, I’m able to complicate even the simplest route. The hardest thing is to show people that I am not doing it intentionally. Compared to the rest of humanity, I need extra minutes to get to the address I am looking for. Google Maps on Mobile was the divine answer to my prayers and true salvation. But even after I installed it and after learning to use it, I start it with fear, what if it does not work, what if I have set something wrong. Every time I get on time. I thank in my thoughts and end with God Save Google Maps. Raisa resembles me, we manage to lose ourselves with talent whenever we need to get somewhere together, so we have agreed that we do not need to stress any more if our destination is not necessarily an emergency, and we have come to enjoy that we see new places, some of which were certainly not on our way. I think Maps, poor boy, would have the right to advertise for hesitations and bad treatments applied during use (once I threw the phone in some bushes, full of nerves and frustration, then laught a lot because among the leaves and branches we heard the voice of guidance).
At the beginning I did not have a smart phone, so I was studying the map at home and the transport modes, then drawing my own map with my pen because only that was how I could handle the route. I arrive at time, yee! at the second interview. Where did I get the job after a kind of monologue in which the boss was talking and I nodded with understanding. Finally, I asked her three times and asked her to write on the paper the day and the hour when I started my job so I can be sure I understood and people really hire me. I understood all right. Then we made a tour of the section, after a lifetime in the hospital, I had no big problems with the rooms or salon distribution. The rest obviously, I would teach along the way. I knew it would be hard, other rules, another organization, other equipment, another routine, plus the language wich I was not talking yet. I did not know, however, how hard it will be. The six months worked there were the most difficult working period I’ve ever had in my life and it was not due to the work itself. But on that day I was just happy.
– Razvan, I got the job, I can not believe it, it’s fantastic!
– Wow! So quickly you found a job? I knew you can.
– I cannot even believe that. I assumed I would go on interviews for a few months. It`s a miracle!
– It’s not a miracle. Honey, your hospital experience matters a lot in your resume. These Swedes believe in your word, the diplomas here can only be obtained efter a long and hard process, so they have no doubt about professionalism. How much do they pay you?
– Honestly, I do not know. She also told me something about salary, but you realize I did not understand. I’ll get a contract, probably next week. She wrote me on a paper, I introduce myself at seven o’clock on Monday. I’m crazy for happiness, I can not believe it.
– Bravo! Come here, we will celebrate.
We were living separately, officially not together, but without separation and without final decisions. In fact, out of the beginning, I dont know whether something has ever been clear or defined in this story. We were still meeting, sleeping together, or staying with him on weekends or on ordinary days. I noticed, however, that he was closing the laptop when I was there sometimes, even guessing that I was not the only one to chat with in the mailboxes. I didn t know what attitude to take or if I have to take one. The fact that we wasn t living together gave me the illusion of a freedom I had not asked for, but had been somewhat imposed on me, but because I tacitly accepted without much objection, it ment that I agreed with it. No string attached, open relationship, no location and obligations, with mutual benefits included but with friendship excluded because friendship has completely different coordinates and we two could not find them. In the next years, we did not recognize ourselves together as a cople in public, what a sense it would have, after all what was happening between us was just our job, two adults who had no one to account for. After the failure of trying to live together, the occasional mistress’s position was up to a point, it was a way to keep my independence and I found the unusual and somewhat interesting situation. Secret and complicity brought to the story a kind of perfume with a pepper spray and a dose of eccentricity that seemed fun and progressive. That’s why I gave up a label, I colored it, I drew some lights and shadows, I embellished it, I said it fits me and I relied on the need for truth and honesty which we owe and which I thought it belongs to both. Ella, who believed in assumption, saw something else there, knowing even if I did not say too much and argued me because she did not believe in half the measure, Raisa was silent without judging. Love, well, I hiding it, it was not cool, it did not solve anything and did not fit in the landscape.
I read the message again, it was the recent date and I looked on the window . Even if it was dark, there were the silhouettes of windy trees, I could not tell if it was because of the speed of the train or it was really out there. I did not know then either. A storm slowly and surely started but I did not feel it, I confused me with the agitation created by the new world in which I was trying to find my place. I had come with all the science of the world gathered in my head, without any thoughts or doubts. I knew best what was good for me, for him, for the world in general. I had the notions of ready, gathered, lean, raised, I was ready to share and put on everyone’s throat but surprise! here nobody needed them. The need for change came in the avalanche, along with adaptation, new situations, new posts, new knowledge, accumulations, plans, so I had much, much work. Proven, proven, to be shown. At this time, safety, certainties, beliefs, the whole carefully constructed has been seriously shaking. And as resistance has always been my strength, I did what I knew best. I resisted.
The conference I should have reached, the reason I was on the train, started at eight o’clock in the morning and I was supposed to be a translator. It was the annual meeting of Swedish organizations dealing with poor migrants in the European Union. That was the correct political name of the Roma of Romanian nationality. Raisa, who spoke Swedish much better than I, had no way to leave, I had a few free days. The train ticket I got at the last minute.
Some time ago, on facebook, with my civic spirit in heated and flashing we talk about the Roma and beggars who had sheltered themselves in the street, every subway station and every store entry in town. The reason was a demonstration that I consider stupid and xenophobic, scheduled for the day, in the center of the city, which would bring to the forefront the idea that Romanian emigrants are being discriminated against by confusion with the Roma nation. It is true that local and national newspapers and television began to abound in articles and shows about the phenomenon, but the news seemed objectively presented, but I, personally, had no confusion and I did not feel any sign of discrimination.
I knew Romanian initiators and I tried to convince them not to put into practice this ridiculous idea. In response to the event announced with fb and trumpets on the fb and the press, some Swedes also made a fb event, followed by a real countermanifestation in the same place. The Swedes, otherwise, militated for the rights of poor Romanians who lived on their streets in recent years. The discussion sparked the spirits and the comments flowed like a polluted river full of misery. “The Gypsies are dirty and turbulent, they steal and live only in their law, they have a culture and history different from ours, they make us laugh all over the globe, and it’s impossible to integrate it. ” Representatives of the Aryans, the green and armed descendants of free self-titled Dacians and universal civilization connoisseurs, luxury emigrants who think their motives for departure are more noble than others, all boastful bellicose statements, Hitler invoked and public executions, examples were given negatives collected from my own experiences, in a hatespeech of racism that I would not have thought possible to my compatriots. By contrast, the Swedish participants in the discussion seemed not only balanced, but they tried to understand the situation and proposed collaborations that might lead to joint action.
I felt suddenly projected two hundred years ago, in the abolitionist era, and reminded me of the first book that marked my childhood. I was twelve years old, I read it with tears, and for the first time I asked questions about humanity, racism and faith. I did not fully understand “Uncle Tom”, it was hard for me to imagine that the novel could describe a reality. Now, after thirty years, in the flow of comments, it seemed to me that whole passages of the book seemed to work the same false arguments, the same arguments as evidence in support of the aberrant theory that a category of people is born inferior , incapable of assimilating education or having feelings. There was a long and stormy series of replies in three languages, private talks, friendly likes and hostile comments, online became a battlefield with well-established rules, bringing wins of stupid conscience or annoyance, targeted ironies or comments grobiene, finishing with unflinching or the supreme gesture of indignation of a sad and frustrated block.
The next day, in the list of notifications, there was a simple message containing the words “vi behöver dig / we need you” and a phone number. I had a long look at the words, trying to decipher the message correctly and find its meaning in the fb profile of the one who sent it. The conversation on the phone just added the meeting place. I stayed a little with thoughts with a little worry mixed with fear (how the hell managed to complicate my life exactly when it seemed that everything was on a normal run?) And a sort of guilty determination (maybe the online bravery should to turn into concrete actions).
As a result, I was on my way to a subway station where I had to meet the man on the phone. The snow had turned into a cold and damp throat that seemed to grow stronger. At the appointed time – the way the Swedes so punctual in the infernal traffic of the city for me it is still a mystery – the man I knew only from a profile picture, got off a car parked a few yards away . There were two men, the oldest one I was talking to on the phone, the younger one, had long hair trapped neatly in a queue. We briefly presented and went straight to the subject, they were from an emigrant volunteer associationhe poor years in the EU, and had some book packages they wanted to share with people. They were costing symbolic money, and they could have resold them on the street, replacing the begging business with a street trade. I raised my eyebrows, wondering, and slightly amused by the idea of transforming beggars into small entrepreneurs. And not of any kind, but book sellers.
– I do not think it will go, I said, looking at the stacks with which the car was thawed.
– It went to Norway, where the brochures were printed, are already sold through Gothenburg, that goes here, too, Sven, the older man, answered firmly. You have to explain that this is a better solution than to stand with your hand and I can supply it every week. Those who pass by them know what it is and prefer to buy a book rather than give up.
In a few minutes I arrived at the destination, a strange building, named Cyklopen, in front of which there were several parked cars. A rather isolated place, very close to the forest and yet in the city. Outside, a few people smoked and talked divided into groups. Inside, smells and sensations have suddenly struck me from a lifetime left behind with little time. A large room with a few sofas and chairs, a light bar, a spiral staircase that led to an open floor. Men and women, many young and very young, talking very loudly and laughing, swearing often and making thick jokes, skirts, rugs and bags in disarray, and among them, some Swedish girls collecting plastic bottles in bags. We heard music from a device that we did not guess the place. Our arrive produced a bit of agitation, Sven knew him all and was waiting for him. They gathered in front of us, each trying to say something, to attract attention, to gesture, but all were quiet when he began to speak and I understood that I had to translate and explain the business with the books. People were skeptical, some asked me what was in the brochure, if they were still thinking about selling it, they should know what it is, because many of them do not know how to read. I also looked at content for the first time, it was a book with illustrations of the life of a Roma woman, Sofia, saved from the Nazi camp of Auschwitz. People did not seem very interested in the proposed activity, but instead crowded to hear and ask questions. Almost everyone was asking for a caravan, I asked about what was going on, and I was told that, from donated money, they managed to buy some caravans in which they installed some families. A few asked for jobs. Liliana, an older gypsy with broken teeth, pushed two children in front of her, asking if she could find some work. She had nine children, the five younger ones left in the country, two girls and two boys had them here. ”
-Tell them I can find a clean job if they speak a minimum of Swedish.
-They speak swedish, Mr. Sven. They learned something at these Sunday hours.
– Let’s see. What do you prefer to drink, tea or coffee? asked her in Swedish the girl who stood before us as an exam.
And, like the exam, the girl had completely fallen and looking for help around, not understanding the question twice.
– She does not understand, Sven concluded with regret. If they knew the language at elementary level, many would find them a job.
Slowly, people slowly surrounded me and tried to communicate their problems and problems. There were not only Roma in there, there were many poor Romanians also, I recognized accents, Moldovans, Transylvanians, Oltenians, a lot of varied with a lot of questions and problems that completely surpassed me. I was left alone, slightly isolated in a corner, the people around me coming closer, the circle gathered around me, each of them wanted to tell me something. I listened to a few things hard to understand or solve, I answered what I was doing, tried to clarify some aspects that I already knew from my own experience. A young man with a full-fledged wife told me that he worked in a Romanian factory that went bankrupt. That he then worked for a few months for a boss who did not pay him anymore. “I was enrolled, lady, to the unemployment office, I went every week to see if they found anything. But I am a Gypsy, who hires me when there are so many unemployed people. ” I knew he was right. A woman wanted to know the address of the Stockholm court, her son had a trial in the coming days. I had no idea. Another had a complicated story with some money he was supposed to receive from the state. I understood nothing. Almost everyone needed a place to sleep. Too few had jobs. There was nothing left from joy and cheer from the beginning. The atmosphere was worrying. Then Sven looked after me, had some things written in a notebook, shared books with those who wanted, my mission ended. I left the conceited building. In the car, Sven looked at me in the rearview mirror and smiled.
– I left you in the middle of the wolves, but you did not get scared. You did well. Now let’s have some coffee, talk a little about that.
-I admit I did not expect that,” I said, “and my hear was hard.
Mercy, indignation, revolt, bitterness, all mingled in my mind as I spooned the spoon into the coffee.
-The situation is much uglier, said the other man. Cyclopen is a building built as an entertainment center. We put it at the disposal of the Volunteer Association to have a meeting place. Immigrants know they can come in there if they need help or information, they can charge their phones, wash, drink coffee if we have funds. We receive food and clothes from companies and private persons, we keep in touch with the police, we try to find accommodation for them. A period of my life I was homeless so I know what these people are going through and understand some of their troubles. But I have helped myself and I got up, the vast majority of those you saw there are in desperate situations.
-We have volunteer Swedish teachers who come for an hour or two to teach them,” Sven continued. Basically, that’s what Cyclopen gathers for Sunday. There is very little, I tell them to try to learn at home, but it is absurd, they can not learn in caravans, many sleep directly in the street and many simply do not know how to write or read. It’s a vicious circle, if they do not know the language can not find work, they stay in the street and beg.
I remained silent. One hour a week to learn Swedish really meant very, very little.
– You know, said Sven, I was a professor of chemistry, I’m a retiree. All my life had solved complicated problems, but this problem just can not solve it. I would like the officials at the Romanian Embassy to come at least once, to see what we are dealing with, to collaborate, to try to do something together. I was told that in your country the Roma are not discriminated against, they have the right to education, places in college, and that all Romanian citizens have health insurance.
He began to laugh while I frowned again. In Romania, where the road and utilities end, the Gypsy villages begin. But for Romanian officials, the poor with a Romanian bulletin only exist in statistics.
– That’s the biggest problem. There are no legal ways to help these people, they are EU citizens. And there are more and more people. Sweden has not had beggars for a hundred years, it needs special legislation for them, but that takes time and they do not have time. There are only a few night shelters, lots are drawn, the rest is sleeping on where they pick up, the police raise it, the temperature drops to ten degrees in the next few days. Many of them are ill, have no insurance, hospitals do not receive them. We are trying to raise funds, take campsites, rent land from the mayors where they can camp. There are obstacles on all sides. You know what the paradox is? We have massive emigration here for decades, from non-EU countries, refugees coming from conflict zones find here a safe shelter, receive financial support and consistent support at all levels. These people do not cost anyone anything, and yet everyone gets hurt by them. And it’s not a resolve to send them back.
– Most people find no help , some return to the country, others send by the police. We try to informe public opinion and authorities, try to present the real situation from your country and force them to react. No man should live that way. But for the few, those who manage to learn the language, find work, integrate, deserve to struggle every day.
We got up from the table and shake our hands together. In the coming weeks I also met the few Romanians, few and undesirables in the Romanian community, who made their anonymous fight a second full-time job. That’s how I met Raisa. In the long discussions we had afterwards, I understood the size of the phenomenon, the deaf struggle with the prejudices and the few legal ways to act. And, of course, on facebook, I had contradictory talks on this topic, I lost a few friends, and I chose all kinds of labels. Instead, on the streets of the city, I saw more and more of the poor EU emigrants trying to sell the book, repeating their name obsessively: Sofia, Sofia.
A few weeks later, I returned to Cyklopen. A reporter from a national radio wanted to report on their situation and problems and wanted to interview some of the people gathered there. In bigger numbers than last time, it seemed to me. He was also interested in the success or profitability of selling books on the street. Liliana, the gypsy with the girls, recognized me and came quickly to me to tell me more about her. The interview started somewhat spontaneously, the reporter asked the usual questions, how many children you have at home, why you came here, what you expect to happen. He also asked her about books and the woman told us that the sale was going with bumps, selling a book, maybe two a day, it’s hard, but some money comes out, which she sends to children in the country. He then asked if it was better to sell books in the streets instead of begging. Her answer made me hesitate for a second, I was not sure I understood it well. But she was waiting for her to translate quietly. I looked at her for a long time, and there was pride in her eyes and when I translated, my throat was full of tears.
– Sir, it’s better, it’s much better, because we do not have to stay down, we can now stand straight on our feet.
16. The beginning
I got up from the bench, it was strange how I had left myself with thoughts and memories. So many happenings, so many question marks now coming from all sides. I perceived them physically, seeing how they materialized, bold characters with the hinged points underneath, replacing the air in the compartment with their presence. I did not have the pride of thinking that someone would organize a kidnapping using the train wagon just to have the necessary time for reminders or processes of consciousness. The ones I’ve fed for so long. But I had to admit, the Controller had been right, “when no one comes, you can really rest.” Being alone with me, however, has never been my favorite option. Sure, the other option was to sleep and hope the story would end in a way or have a happy ending. That destiny, destiny, luck, and karma, what will be, will take care of everything. I did not want to think about the beginnings, I applied holistically the principle “what is done does not break up” and no doubt how it is that the happenings we have passed can not be changed anymore. So what? all that has to do is accept the consequences or try to correct mistakes. On the go. I did not have time to look at myself, I was too busy to live, it was necessary to gather feelings, many, many, to be happy, isn t it, happiness is an obligation. In the quest for emotions, acceptance, after recognition, put a smile on your face, optimism it all that matters, think positively, it is necessary to finish the obstacle race, first place, crown, greetings. I tried hard. How fake it was, I only knew when I got on my knees in the courtyard of a hospital, with my brain burning and my heart like a tombstone. It is hard to make a difference between the choices, the will and the random sequence of events that have taken place. So we choose the simple way, we blame our fate.
Emigration has meant a chain of events and facts that have been running at a dizzying speed, to which I have not resisted for a second. Why would I do that? That summer had solved everything in a miraculously simple way, so simple that I could not believe it was possible. The chaos that followed, I didn t foresee, did not enter on the calculations of “happy to deep old age”
-I went past some houses in the line, rådhuset is called, and I started to dream about things I did not want before. You, me, a cottage, a life together.
After the first week, spent together in Stockholm, everything was burning. Returning to my city, I can not found my place and no purpose. We were talking on skype, but it was not enough, the online could no longer satisfy the need for physics, thr need I had for him. The equation had equal factors, Razvan had appeared on the screen slightly emotional, with questions in his eye.
– It can be done. Here you will find your job very easy, your job is very sought after, you can send your papers for the equivalence of studies directly from the country. Meanwhile, we can solve with the documents here, I get you on my address, those who live together have a legal name, are called sambo. I can find you a conventional job until you get your ID, I know the somebody at a cleaning company, we can ask if it gets you, you get your personal numbers and ready, you move to me.
I did not think of emigrating, yes, wages were bad, but I’ve been working in the same place for many years, yes, there were many inconvenients, but it was a sure place where I was doing well. Letting my family, friends, colleagues seem extremely difficult to do, and I had no serious reason to think about imigration. Everything that happened, however, the speed of the decision, the decision to know us, the way we knew already when we met, all the doubts scattered at the first contact …
The airport was more than an hour away from the city, Răzvan had bought a car just to take me from the plane, it was fun and thouching at the same time, we chose it together, he sent me photos, I did not get it at all, I liked that car because it was that safe and stable car from American movies and I simply loved the color, he liked horsepower and the fact that it was a limited edition. In the parking lot of the airport he presented us funny to each other “Diana-car, car-Di”. I watched him with the tail of my eye as he surely drifted a trained driver for many years, trying to catch elements from the Swedish landscape on his way to his home, but I was careful not to miss a gesture of what I knew so well beyond the screen and to try to keep my hands at home and this seemed the hardest thing to do after the entire online flame where physical contact was the only one missing. The first kiss was a reminder, the way he left his right hand from the wheel to gather mine was a sensation I already knew, the expression of the eyes on the road, the movement of his shoulders, laughting, everything was part of a story already known. In the following days I visited something in Stockholm, and Razvan was a careful and informed guide. I was reviewing the buildings, the center, well, I was not blazed but I was not really interested. Although I did not really traveling out of my country, I did not like the conventional way to check statues and museums. Later, when I began to travel alone and to know my friends discovered in virtual reality, it always seemed more interesting to know people there and feel the atmosphere and vibration of the place I visit. The most I liked was the archipelago. The sea was dark, the rocky and sandy relief, with nothing of what it used to be the sea imagine for me. The Swedish archipelago had a beauty I had never seen before, well-defined, clear and cold. The April weather was cool, but it was sunny every day and the light had a different structure, filtered through the rare and dense air that I felt until the last alveolus. Otherwise, I traversed the places through his eyes and every day brought us closer, the better I knew him, the deeper the feeling I had, like I always knew him and the time left was too short. When I left, after a week, I was overwhelmed and in love like never before. But I knew from the beginning what can unite us and what you can separate us from. No, I thought I knew.
– Honey, we have a problem, I said to him last night, we do not put things in the same way. I see first and foremost the big picture, the far forest as a whole and the wide perspective. And with my eyes on the top, stolen by the sight, it stops me and my nose in all the trees that spring up in my way. You, attentive to every detail, to the bark of every tree, you lose sight of the landscape and find a thousand reasons for dissatisfaction in each crack. If we manage to learn from each other, you will give them damn details when they are not very important, I will begin to see the details that I am missing, we have a chance.
– I had too much to lose from ignoring some details, Di. I can not afford to leave anything to chance, it cost me every time. Scheduling is important and detail is the one that prevents me from mistaking.
We were talking a lot using Skype, but we kept the writing habit, we were leaving messages to each other during the times when we were forced to see our daily routine. Days and nights were condensed, divided between mandatory duties and times when I started the computer. We were in touch all the time, on skype, facebook, on the phone, in my mind, our relationship was built despite the distance. In less than a month, I flyed again. He had explained to me what was the official route of the papers, and we went to the company together to see how much of what we could imagine was possible. The office was on the ground floor of a block in an ordinary apartment with a pleasing metal at the entrance. The woman took my ID and wrote my work contract. Immediately. It was the strangest moment of all. I did not have the courage to say anything, I thanked and left. I could not believe it can be so simple, I was actually employed in Sweden, and I had not decided yet definitively for my life, nor did I even know the conditions in which I could end my service in Romania, where nobody knew anything. Only my sister and a friend knew about my excursions to Stockholm. The story, started with a dream and an amusing online discussion was heading for a route that blows both of us in the same way. When we got home, we put the contract on the kitchen table, then we went out to breathe and talk in the woods behind the blocks. It was too much, too suddenly, I felt pushed from a wave, the sensation was unpleasant, and the rapidity and force with which everything unfolded completely destabilized me. He also realized the dimension of change, saw his hesitation and understood it, it would be a life together for which I felt he was not fully prepared. He had lived too many years alone, so did I. And for a prospect of a life in two, we knew too little.
-Now what’s to be done? I asked myself by sitting on a bench. I gathered my blouse in front of me, besides the cool night, I added the thrill of the unknown in which I had just plunged. I’ll have to tell to my family, give up my resignation, get my bags, I have no idea what to do with the house, it’s unlikely I can sell it in such a short time. Razvan, it’s too fast, it’s all too short. It scares me.
– You’ll have to take the decision yourself. I want to be well understood from the beginning, I do not be the one responsible for your decision, God knows, responsibility is not my strong point, it never was. You alone are able to know which is the best option for you. I want you here, but I will never assume your decision, it’s a thing you have to do alone.
We parted in the airport, I was confysed, the choice was difficult to do, and it did not seem to be another way. The plane had a tumultuous race for two hours, the whole flight was not allowed to loosen the seat belts, I stood all the way with the nerves irritated, my eyes closed, thinking at what I want, at his hands, at love who already had ripped me apart, to everything that means a new life or one you can easily lose in a plane crash, for example. When I set my foot on the ground, happy that I landed well after the flight’s nightmare, I made the decision and had a light heart. At the airport I called.
“I had an absolutely terrible flight, I’m glad I landed well. And I’ve decided, Razvan, I’m making my luggage and coming. I need a maximum of a month to solve everything I have to solve in the country.
His warm laughter warmed my soul, also and gave me the certainty I needed.
– And I love you, Di. You’ll come and see, we’ll fix it all. We’ll have our little house and our lives. It will be everything as it should be.
I flew very many times since then. It was the only time I had a flight of turbulence, a seat belt and a tight heart. Karma, I told myself. Or not.
The lights in the compartment flickered several times and went out. The train stopped abruptly, with a long squeak, I heard the wheels brake on the rails with a sharp sound that broke my brains. Then there was nothing heard, just the silence and the darkness. Now what?
I stuck to the bench. with the horror I felt climbing in my stomach, with my hands trembling, the perceived dangling danger and the maximum defense alerts. I quickly searched the phone, hit it with my hand, I heard it fall. I touched the floor, found it, was there, picked it up and quickly turned it on as a flashlight.
I opened the door slowly and went out into the aisle, trying to control my heartbeat and the pulse that was rumbling in my temples, unmoved. There was a stripe of light at the far end of the wagon, and there was a faint noise, like a cough. I came forward with fear, I did not know what or who could be there, holding me to the wall of the wagon with my eyes on the thin path that slammed past the door. Inside the illuminated compartment was the Controller. He had a pair of dice that he took for a long time, gathering them, shaking them, throwing them. He was trapped with this occupation, concentrated, the dice were rolling, letting them lie on the table, looked at them dissatisfied, picking them in the fist and throwing them again. And again. The dice of the dice had a shrill and unmistakable sound, I wanted to cry out to him, but I was so relief to see him.
I knocked in the window, raised his eyes, somewhat dissatisfied that I was interrupting his activity. Then he dropped the dice once again. I pulled the door, walked into the compartment, and sat in front of him.
– Good evening.
He looked at me, muttering in his beard, as if awakened, disturbed by a sleep.
– You stopped the train.
– Yes. You. You stopped the train in the field, in the middle of nowhere. So we never reach our destination.
– How the hell am I doing this?
He glanced at me briefly and angrily.
-Look, man, I’m trying hard to keep my lucidity and the sense of reality in this completely ruined situation, of which I do not understand anything.
– You stopped the train. You do not want to go further, it’s clear. And I do not understand why. What you do is waste of time and time is the only value with limited use.
– Everything’s limited.
– No. You set limits yourself, no one imposes on you.
– That’s nonsense. There are rules, there are laws, there are boundaries. The limits are everywhere.
He did not say anything. He spread dice to me, without a word, with cold eyes and no expression. I took them and gathered them in my fist, feeling the corners of the cubes dangling my palm.
– I’d better get some explanation, you know.
– Explanations, explanations, that’s what you all want. Everybody want explains about what should be done, what you have to do, to be easy and simple. Speaks, talks, confirmation of surrender, receipts, certificates, endorsements, cancellations, debts, oblivion, graduation. None would not do anything on his own initiative. Drop the dice.
I looked into his eyes, angry.
– Just like I was thinking. You do not want to throw them away. You’re afraid you will not get the winning dice, though you do not know who he is. You wait the moment to figure out which of the combinations would benefit you. You did not understand anything.
– I threw them, okay? It’s not the first time. I threw them, I moved, I played according to the imposed rules. It turned out that everything was in vain, people changed the rules as they wanted. I lost, right? because people cheat. And it’s not right. It’s not. When the rules change during the game and you do not know them, it s wrong, you can not win.
– There’s nothing wrong, just the desire to win.
– Dice are not made to win?
– Win, win, always win. You can win by two-one if you only need it and you can lose with six-six if you have no place to use it. Sometimes the experience does not use you at all, sometimes it helps you recognize the traps. Can not you just enjoy playing? To do combinations, to try new stuff, the pieces can be moved, mixed, arranged in a different way. There are so many variations, depending on the game, the context, the position you have on the board. You can change the game if you do not like it, you can invent another one. It depends only on you.
– And the opponent.
– There is no opponent.
– Playing a game against you is stupid.
He smiled for the first time, a thin smile that lightened her harsh and cold features.
– Finally! Look, I’ll give you a tip, though you should know it. Games against you are the most honest. Dice are generally only a starting point, let’s say they do all the more interesting, even if the gamble has its rules. But nothing happens if you do not throw them away. As long as you keep them in your hand and you do not know what to do with them, you stagnate, the train will not start and we’ll all remain still.
– I’m not responsible for this fucking train! I’m not a mechanic, I’m not a conductor, it’s not up to me to start. Don t do this, please do not do this … I can not be responsible for he entire train.
He stood up, picked up his face and opened the compartment door. He turned his eyes on my clenched fist.
-Throw the dice. I’d like to get somewhere until morning.
I stayed on the bench. I embraced my nails in my hand and felt the dice burning there, somewhere on the line of life. I lifted my knees to the chin and for the first time that long night, for the first time in a long time, I began to cry. I opened my fist and the dice fell on the floor, one after the other. At the same time, the lights lit up the aisle and the train, with a metallic wheel scraper, started again.
So, therefore (and I begin the reasoning with a conclusion), it depends on me. The train depends on me. Why, in what way, how could the questions go unanswered, increasing my confusion. The train started again to its destination, whatever was that the Controller had gone, better said, disappeared, because I did not see a door open and I did not see him descend. Still, the certainty of he being somewhere near, gave me some security. It was obvious that he was lying somewhere, waiting, in a niche or other kind of hiding place, it was clear now that he was overseeing me from the distance and it was important that I was not completely alone even though I did not understand the direction in which this story is heading and what the purpose would be. How can I suppose that I myself could be the subject of such an experiment was very difficult to accept, but certainty began to emerge. As unbelievable as it may seem, it was me and it was me, and I have never considered myself so important that I could stop a train or count on the lives of other people, putting it over with a delay, for example .
I started to sort out the facts, calculate what I know, what I do not know, and what stones I can set foot on. What I knew was that the train depended somewhat on my state and the fact that I had returned in the past, reliving emotions, was a mistake. But I did not know what the mistake was, moreover, the man had told me that in fact nothing would be a mistake, but only play, experience and accumulation. Or maybe I did not understand well. What I could do in a locked in a train compartment, I don t know, though the train, with its armored doors, was a place like any other where you could be locked. Besides, it was clear I had to do something or somebody expect something from me. Stop. I thought maybe this was the original game, I’ve always done what others were expecting from me. Change the game, change the rules, that’s what he told me. How? Then, the time I was given was also meaningful. I was about to stay here till morning, so here’s another shadow of certainty. For now, I was overwhelmed by novelty, and I did not get any sort of thought in mind, but I suspected it could not be that simple, events would happen, and things would happen in the meantime. In fact, I threw the dice.
I did not open the phone anymore, I had a book waiting for me, reading helps me get out of reality, and I decided to try to escape in one way or the other for at least one hour. When I read, go into the book and remain there, I am there, I design myself entirely in the action or context of the book, and who knows, maybe when I get out I have another look at the present plan. Or maybe I have some idea. I coaxed the cover with my hand …
For us, those who live far away, books are a constant challenge. Of course, there is a way to read online but for me, like many others, it’s not a possibility to consider. The book must be held in hand, browsed, traced, established that close contact so difficult to describe with its reader. Buying them online was not complicated, but transport costs more than the book. The solution was the old one, whenever I went to the country I brought books, took them on the plane, within the allowed luggage. Then we exchange them among us.
The novel I had in my hand was bought at a book exhibition, had an autograph, last autumn I had traveled to Bucharest. For me, the capital was just a new city to visit, before I was just passing by. When Ella, who wanted to see her family, proposed to go together for a few days, I enthusiastically accepted. The book exhibition that was happening in those days was among the targets to be achieved.
Our facebook group had multiplied. Evening by evening, we gather like in a club, a story, a bar, talk, and why not, to clarify various controversies. We were reviewing events, we were well informed, the diaspora corridor worked well on net networks. Even though I was a kind of key activist, facebook had become a social center from which many actions went in real. But obviously, first of all, it was about friends, knowledge and socialization. Someone was writing a status or discussing a subject, and we all commented, some came faster, others joined along, was jolly, was lazy, stimulating, informative. The activity on fb resembled like a club, you meet your friends, you get some knowledge, you sit down at a table, talk, go to the next if you see animation or the discussion is more interesting, a lot o laugh or adrenaline, more agitated a flame. Littele groups like churches, idols, currents are being created. And as in a bar, some get glory or what they have near the desktop, others become arrogant or rude. There were few interventions at and beyond the boundaries and there were enough those who profited in different ways from the new space newly created. With those who were in the close group, I had contacts in private, comments and parallel discussions when needed, but with Clara I had established a much closer relationship. Clara wrote controversial, well-documented statuses with humor, irony, and a dose of cynicism studied, discussing the events of the day from a unusual perspective. We were talking the same language, we seemed to operate with the same principles, to share the same values and to look at the world and life through a similar lens. Bubbles, moreover, are made up and function on features and resemblance. In our facebook bubble we laughed a lot, smirking, talking seriously, setting up conduct, giving verdicts and making word games. Some of the people with whom I had almost every day contact on FB would meet them now.
Therefore, besides the joy of visiting the city with Ella, Bucharest girl until emigration, I had the prospect of meeting with people who were close to online and these meetings, all, have a special charge and come with a bag of emotions difficult to weigh. it was a place full of pleasant surprises, and I wondered seriously how much of the daily traffic information about the city is frustration and personal annoyance, and how real life it is. Or maybe the secret is not to wait too much. Răzvan, who lived in Bucharest, he said to me that, of course, it may be nice to visit the city as a tourist, but daily living is a challenge that I, in a few days, can not understand. I did not contradict him, but when I ended up at Aviators Boulevard, where the avenue opened wide, free the statue flag, illuminated by the autumn sun, I called him because the image had come directly to my soul and resonated with him. In the center I liked the old buildings, even the ones left in the cave had a special melancholy, the pretzels, the terraces … I liked everything.
Meetings with people, however, are by far the most fascinating. New faces and stories, many stories. No man is usual to as long as he has a story. An old lady with dozens of bracelets on her arms and extravagant rings on her fingers who drank her coffee with five cups of sugar and chilli peppers, knew that we were living in Stockholm and told us how she met the king once, when he visited the Swedish palace. Dusty workers, soulful artists in a world, bargains from the market where the world was shopping for autumn pickles, beautiful women, more or less elegant, all complete the uniqueness and eccentricity of Bucharest, giving it the full atmosphere the color and contrast that I had read in the interwar novels and which, in secret, I was expecting. At the book exhibition we met, saw and recognized with many friends online and just like on facebook, with some people directly establishing the flow of energy to which I gave unlimited credit in any relationship I have. Clara was the one I long wanted to know. We gathered our hands and we embraced, gazing naturally and naturally like we already know which other, or as if we had just separated us. We chose and bought books, we stood in the autographs, we were amused to recognize famous people, some that I knew by name or on TV. With a coffee in our hand, we sat down on the stairs, one beside the other, looking at the crowd that was lying wide and smiling with our eyes. It was one of the most meaningful moments I’ve ever had. I felt like Alice in Wonderland, smelled of uncut pages, fresh or old letters, people in love with print worlds. The paradise was shaped like a library with countless books on the shelves.
In the luggage we returned home, there were no clothes or other unnecessary items. Ella`s mother had carefully packed some bags and jars. In the suitcases there were ordered books, locks and sausages. Food for the soul and food for the unforgettable taste of childhood.
– Do you have any news from Diana?
– No, I have not talked to her yet. I’ll call it right away.
– I was at work in the morning, now I’m back. I called several times and did not answer. It’s like the phone is closed or there’s no signal.
– If she entered the conference, she might have closed his phone.
– dap. it seems strange to me, she did not give any sign, did not comment anywhere, the messages are not read, the answer does not answer. Are you sure she got to the conference? At least one photo had to do.
– You are right. You know something, I can call one of the organizers, ask her. Talk to you later.
– OK I wait.
Other message box.
– You know that Diana is not answering yesterday, she shut his phone or what the hell he is doing, I do not know.
– At this moment I started writing to you, I wanted to ask you. I sent two messages but I did not read it.
– I talked to Raisa, they call the organizers. Mara, are you sure she’s okay?
– I had a meeting with her a couple of days before she left. you ask me if I’m in trouble. they are not, they have made progress, you have seen. well, there are a few things to do there, but nothing happens overnight, it takes a little more time. Do not think bad, surely there’s an explanation for not communicating, but I tend to think there’s more to a technical problem. Nonsense does not, that’s why you can be sure.
– we wait to see what Raisa tells us. Let’s even know that she’s done well.
– ok, keep me up to date.
Ella was trying to be calm, but she could not get away from that thing, the one who told her not, something was wrong. The feeling of concern she had was in her stomach and it did not give her peace. Why should have her phone locked, she had no logic. I hope Raisa find her one way or the other. Its not normal she did not give a sign of life.
– Ella, you know who is Cristian Popescu?
– no, Ioana, why?
– you have it with your friends, I thought you knew him
– I just want to look. Nope, don t think so.
– He sent me a request, accepted it, gave me an unfriend, sent me a request again.
– ah, wait, I remember, it’s the one with sterilization of poor women and the censorship vote. A snob bitch, fuck it.
– Oh, okay. Do you know anything about Diana? Do not answer my messages
– I do not know anything, we’re just moving around here. Ioana, you know I call you, I want to talk more.
– In five minutes, okay? I get home immediately, it’s so hot in me that it takes me with dizziness.
the rain was dripping through the window sill, and on the radio there was a late and slow jazz music. candles lit all over the house flickered small and frequent in every corner, their heat climbs into unequal flames giving darkness hidden understandings. I could look forever at endless lights and shadows on the walls, deforming silhouettes and meanings. I slowly returned, seeing his shadow rising in my shadow.
– you know, I could find secret dealings in the candle forms or guess the pain of the captive wick in the melting coat.
– I know, you’re a witch and you have a deal with the fire.
– I’m not. I like to hear the rain and …
– do not talk, please stay still, stay there. I want you to wait for me. stay and let me look at you, stay that way.
I closed my eyes, wanted not to see hiss and opened them with fear of losing more than a second. their green eyes were greedy, they were hungry, they were passing by every patch of skin, they sipped without any of the pores and swallowed fleshly. the desire was deeply clenched in his iris and hanging too heavy on the genes. I called him by name, come, love, it was too much to tear, demanded the warmth of the hand, the recollection, and the flood of the unruly mouth. closer and closer, the smell of melted light, saliva taste on the lips, the meaning caught from the ankle until the long gliding of the vertebra, the thrill of the beginning in the womb. I got out from the hug and I stood up, I wanted to see, not to look, there were so many senses of content, and the sight was incongruous, hunger and longing and lack and need. with my lips I touched the dilated pupils in my fingers, the desire stretched into lighted strips, unfolded and set in long strands
then one movement, the chain. the harsh hands that gathered, the crushing mouth, soar without stopping, the brisk spin with the nails in the skin, the beginning and the end with no lines, the tremor that grew grim in the flesh, the drowning whisper in the ear. breathing harder, crunching a second by melting any will, slipping into the deep and forgetting … forgetting ..
I was asleep reading, with the soft backpack gathered at my head, and I woke up with such a sensation that I wanted to stretch my hand and touch him. I had heard the beatings of my heart as if I had been lying in his warm between the arm and the left shoulder, the only place in the world I’d ever felt at home, and there was still the pressure of his hugged arm with forgotten hand on my thigh. My form had taken his contour again.
Rain drops dripped on the compartment window. I stood up and left my forehead in my hands. I’ll have to find a way to control my dreams. How easy it would have been all without his smell in my dreams and without the dream that brought him to me. Much easier.
The dream had made me lose myself and my peace of mind, because, as usual, I kept in mind every detail. I dreamed him from time to time in all sorts of hypostases and told him by writing to them or sending them to the message box. He laughed at me, then we commented together, the action in my dreams was always colorful and detailed. Now I only wanted the event to become as rare as possible, and I hoped that in time, as soon as possible, the shadow of his nesting, hidden by the subconscious, would disappear. I have to forget about everything, so every time it happen send me in panic, I have a hard feeling of dissatisfaction and missed objective. And a bitter taste in the mouth, the vomiting taste of betrayal.
I took a deep breath and drank all the water in the glass to get rid of the nausea I felt on my dry throat. Then, more clearly, I looked around. Nothing had changed in the real world. The train had a steady rhythm now, the night was dripping with rain, the wagon was empty, and I was all alone. By morning there were still hours, sleep was gone, there was not much to do, and I did not want to start with memories again. I did not know where they would take me, if I use anything to get my train destination uncertain. I have read a theory that psychological sorrow, attempts to return again and again to past events re-energize neural pathways, bother them, and obsessively memorize the event you want to get rid of or want to heal. Even if the therapists argue, I think that study has a physiological logic and a natural neural mechanism. It’s like scraping endlessly, to the blood, a wound that wants to heal.
To take my time with something, I started ordering, took the empty packs, crackled them and threw it into the small waste bin, wiped the table with some napkins, went to the automat machine, got some water and coffee. In my backpack I had a louse and pants that I used to sleep when I left short trips, as theoretically should have been. I pulled it on, folded my jeans and my pullover in my backpack, and then I lay on the bench. From now on I was at home.
I’ve moved a lot and often since I know. My family said I could not find my place and it was true. I changed a bunch of homes, my friends were shaking their heads, the move was a routine done at least once every two years. Probably that is why I succeed very quickly in creating a corner where I feel cosy and comfortable. The frequent moves made me not to put too much value on the objects simply because they had to be packed, transported and displaced very often. It’s my primary philosophy, I give up things very easily and to people very hard. In Stockholm I was still living at my hosts, but the need of my own home became extremely important, so I began to study the housing problem seriously. I had hit of this once, I knew how hard it was and how much it cost to find a reasonable rent closer to the subway or pendeltåg, and so it began to sprout in my mind the plan to buy an apartment. Because it simply seemed a much more convenient solution. From the hospital that had given me my first job and there I worked for about six months, I moved to another. I saw the Swedes, they were mobile, they did not stay branch or another, and I made the decision to be the same, to get different work experiences, in any case, not to remain stuck in the same place for years as I was in the country. Then, between the offers that came to me daily by mail, I found a job offer specializing in one of the largest hospitals in Stockholm. It sounds great for me, study and work seemed to be the winning combination, I could go ahead with learning the language, maybe make a professional jump and work at the same pace. I was beginning to be happy to go, I finally managed to make it easier with the money, made some calculations that seemed easy to get away from reality, but I had courage and sent a request to the bank. Approved on the second day, I could start looking for my house.
If with the bank went very easily, searching for an apartment turned out to be a real adventure. I had a fixed price limit beyond which I could not pass. Stockholm is a long town, more than a hundred kilometers long, but there are miles of woods across the neighborhoods and contrary to urban trends, the Swedes do not sacrifice the forest to build apartments. The housing crisis, however, climbs visibly prices from one month to the next. Each sales apartment was targeted by several potential buyers who were presenting on the day of sighting / watching, then the apartment was auctioned. I mean up. Every time I found something convenient, the auction level exceeded my purchasing power, and at the price initially posted on the site were added at least twenty percent and there were a few apartments that practically doubled. It was frustrating, every weekend I was going to see two or three apartments, and in time, we came to recognize us, the buyers with few hopes, those who met on Sundays Sunday.
While to me, well, I was clear with a few directions, and seemed doing well somewhat, Razvan did not have a good time. I was seeing this and I was not sure whether or how I could help him, in one way or another, my offers seemed stupid or not what he wanted from me. And it’s true, in that time, I had no availability or resources, I knew how hard it was to give me and how hard it was to get help. I had too many discussions on this subject, he hate unsolicited help, and diplomacy was far from being my strong point, somehow waiting for signs and approval from him. Finally, in the spring, he suddenly told me, that he go on a trip. I did not ask whom, I suspected it was not lonely, but I did not want to think too much, I was confused, I had no patterns, no limits to respect, and I didn t think I had the right to ask questions. A few days later, however, he began to send me a lot of SMS. It found it funny, naughty and I admit, it was exciting to receive messages like that from him knowing he was with someone else. He returned, after two weeks, more flamboyant than ever, from the plane fled to leave his luggage, take the car, and rushed for me. We barely had the patience to get into the house, I think we were lucky then that the lift did not get stuck. He had brought Belgian chocolate and Dutch candy. I did not ask too much and did not ask for explanations, probably because of the need to give them. He confirmed that he had a “girlfriend” .
– She’s just a friend, she contacted me because she needed some information. I gave them and we started talking a little more. She proposed to go on a trip, she wanted to make a long trip and did not want to do it alone. She knew how much I love France, I know the places, it’s was a dead time for me anyway, and I finally agreed to go as a guide. Sure, I’m not naive, I knew she wanted more, but I thought I was setting limits and she would respect them. I convinced myself that it was some kind of trap and that it would have been used by any means just to go with her. She is an extremely insistent and understood very hard the refusal even though we initially agreed that we could only be friends and that we would make the journey as road comrades. Honestly, on the one hand, I’m sorry I went, on the other hand I missed a trip, outside Sweden, I haven t done it for years.
I was looking at him and I could not believe that he expected to believe it. In our initial plans, we’ve seen ourselves riding Paris, driving on long streets and wandering on deserted beaches, Razvan had stories of unblemished places, spent a lot of time together, searching Google Maps for shelters away from the eyes of the world. I did not say anything, there was nothing to say, I was relieved to see it alive after the hard time I knew it had. It sounds like an idiot, but first of all I wanted him to be fine. Excursions will be, the world is still there, I told myself. Although I did not ask him, he told me who she was and he didn t want to be in touch with her, she was very determined to break with “that woman” because, he said, her insistence became dangerous. About us, he had told me the truth, and that’s just what counts for me now. The great advantage of the truth is that it offers options and decisions can be taken lightly, knowingly. His confession offered me the option to leave and leave the story behind or continue as if nothing had happened. I stayed.
At the next visit I was the only customer. The price of the apartment was good, the area was convenient, the maintenance was great and the apartment presented on the site was extremely bad photographed. I was at the end of my nerves and pressed by the searches, but I told myself to go and see him. The landlord was an elderly, sturdy and massive guy who lived alone and wanted to move somewhere at the country. The apartment was crowded, full of furniture and old things, unrenewed perhaps for decades, but I did not care. I renovated and changed all the places I stayed in and knew I could do it again, this time in Sweden. I bid the asking price, I waited a few days. When the real estate agent called me to call me to write the pre-contract, I could not believe it, I was afraid someone else would come in the last second and I signed the papers hurry and enthusiastically. We set out that in one month they get me the keys and the contract. I was crazy for happiness, had all the plans made and my mind was full only by the colors of the walls, the lacquered floors and the combinations of the curtains, though I had no idea how I could handle it all, I had nothing but a mattress and the desktop computer. Razvan seemed to be enjoying himself for me, we began to hike all sorts of stores in search of good prices. Then, suddenly, nothing was ok. There were words in two feathers, elusive attitudes, irritations of nothing, quarrels without a clear object, which made my joy a little dark. I put it, of course, on the fact that he had begun to be very busy himself, and I was probably too invasive with my plans. For the next weekend, he had scheduled a trip to Helsinki with a cruise boat, for business, whith two colleagues. Kiss , goodbye, I hope you do not get sea sick, we’ll see you Monday. But I had a suspicion, and the next night I looked at that woman’s page. On the wall there were some pretty bad shots made in Stockholm, and in a few frames I recognized without hesitation Razvan s house and the surroundings. I could not think of anything, I looked at every picture carefully, to be sure sure I was not wrong and sent a short message to her.
“Have fun. Helsinki seems to be a little closer than I knew, but we already know I have a problem with the approximation of distances. Only thing I asked you was not to lie “
I have not waited for an answer, I blocked him the facebook, and I decided it was ready, I put this story behind me. After a week I signed pape for my home. I took the keys, put them in my bag, came to laugh and cry in the same time. I wanted to tell everyone, to cry out for joy, it was my magic moment. I had succeeded, I had fulfilled a dream. I did not know where to go and what to do, in that crowd of people I was alone, I walked for a while without direction, and almost did not realize I woke up in the Central railway station, Stockholm’s fibrillation heart. I went in to get some coffee and told the house boy.
– You know, today I bought my apartment.
– Congratulations! Bravo! Wow, what a joy, I’ve been struggling for a year! The blonde young man was expansive, he gripped my hand, wished me a good life in my new home and did not accept my coffee money. The simple and honest gesture softened me, it felt so goodfor my soul to see even a stranger who truly enjoyed for me. I went out and sat down on a bench with my eyes on the subway entrance, the train that would take me to him, the man who could have filled my joy, made it complete and round like a circle with a simple hug.
I did not call my family, not then. My departure was the beginning of a crack that had widened in years, the crack was probably before, but how long I had been there I had found ways of carving and repairing poor walls. From here, however, all construction defects were seen, and the effort to maintain solid connections became more difficult to do. I did not feel the need to call them, even though I knew they would be proud of me in their circle of neighbors and knowledge or maybe that’s why. I had a facebook friend then, a good man I was talking about quite often and who was at current with all my efforts, my despair and my attempts at housing, and I wanted to talk to someone who understood how much it meant to me and to share a drop of that joy that overwhelmed me. I do not have it now, and I do not even know what the reason she chose to get me out of the list at some point. But then, on that day, he was the first to whom I sent him a message. “Mihai, I have my house.”
That summer was the warmest of all I ever got to Stockholm. The temperature went up to 27 degrees, it was hard to breathe but I was not crying at all, I was glad that the walls were drying up. In the long, northern evenings, without night, I was sitting on the balcony and trying not to look at the phone. It was as if I were in a continuous confinement, I would have prayed, would have meditated, would have done anything, except I would not have it in my mind. I was anesthetized with a lot of work, with physical effort until exhaustion, I had so much things to do. I did not mount my desktop for a few months, I let it go in a box, unopened, because I did not have access for searching on my phone so freely, and I was trying to master my impulses to know what she was doing. I missed him and I was afraid because I felt that the point in plex, the one in which my breathing stopped on that day, grew, instead of disappear, it became a large, empty hole and I could not see anything that would I could replace it. I unblock him after three months, the hole became unbearable. I breathed for the first time after a long time when I saw her picture. He immediately noticed, it was like he was waiting, he sent me a message and he came to me the same day.
“I did not get to see your new home, I come to see where you stand.”
When he got in the house, I he had again the familiar thrill, the one who started from somewhere in the abdomen and I was leaping to my feet, weakening and all I wanted was to keep myself strong and not make concessions. He did not try to go around, nor did he start a convenient conversation, he went straight to the subject, as if we had just broken up yesterday.
– You don t know how I’ve been through since. That woman is mentally ill, she’s obsessed. She follows me, sent me hundreds of emails, sent me messages, she calls me every day. Letters, requests, threats, I blocked her on all possible channels. I’ll show you the mail, it was a horrible time. I do not know why she was expecting me, I told her clearly and concisely that we were just friends, but she built in her mind a whole story of love in which the protagonist is me and a relationship that does not exist. I want you to believe me, besides that trip I never promised anything.
-You lied to me and you promised you would not do it. Razvan, I do not say big words, but if the truth between us disappears, nothing else remains. I’m not interested in your relationship with her, it’s not my problem, it’s just yours and I’m serious, I expect you to solve your own sentimental troubles. I saw the photos on fb, they were made in front of your block and you told me you were going to Finland. The same day.
– I have no logical explanation for what happened that day. The message and block from you the keep left me with no reply. That woman probably came here to follow me. I left with one of the Viking Line boats, it’s a new and modern one that impressed me, we have to go together sometimes. I still have the tickets, you know, I brought them with me, you can check it out, I went with two colleagues that Friday and came back on Sunday. I still can not understand what happened, how it happened and what was she doing in Stockholm. It was a damn coincidence. After you blocked me, I looked at her facebook page and I was terrified. The pictures were made in front of my house, which means she was waiting for me, that it was there, lurking. I told you she’s obsessed and dangerous. Can you imagine that?
– Why did not you simply called me? You could do it, it was easy to clear it up everything, you were not blocked on your phone.
– Because you already had a feeling, and you were sure you know what’s going on. And I’m tired of trying to explain you situations that you have no doubt about. Because I felt offended by your suspicions and the fact that you did not know I would never lie to you. And because I knew if I did not leave you in yours, there is no chance of hearing me.
We wewrw smoking in the balcony, both. face to face. I gathered my vest alongside me, it was cold, it was sad and I could not help myself in doubt. Then, suddenly, he approached, took my hand tight and kissed her, and the simple touch dissolved everything in me, everything. I stared at him for a long time, looking for an evidence of my hesitation, of distrust, of anxiety. but nothing seemed to be hidden there, nothing but desire. And I believed him, not because I did want to believe it, but because what he said seemed to have reason and coherence, and because I allowed reason to take the lead by ignoring the senses that called for me. But the senses are the ones that cheat, are not they? I shook my throat, left my eyes and tried to leave me guided by the logic of facts, evidence and actions exposed in a linear demonstration.
Now I know. It was a lie.
– Diana did not reach the conference
– I talked to Sven and Anika, one of the organizers. She did not reach the conference and did not even take the hotel room
– it’s not possible. Where is it? How is possible to disappear like this?
– I have not a damn idea. How do we do? Where are we looking for? I’m in panic.
Ella looked at her watch, it was about two o’clock in the afternoon.
– I think it’s pointless to announce the police yet. As far as I know, missing persons can only be announced within twenty-four hours. I say wait until tonight, maybe in the meantime she give us a sign.
– I’m not quiet, but I’m in panic quickly, usually. I’m going to call the police now.
– I still say we should wait. This twenty-four-hour term is not a coincidence. I look at the police site to see what and how.
– Okay. Meanwhile, I told them at the conference to let me know if it came up. We wait until tonight. But something sure happened.
Thoughtful and worried, Ella opened the mess with Mara.
-Diana’s gone. He did not reach the conference or the hotel
– it’s not possible.
– Raisa talked to those there. No trace of it. I do not even know what to think
– Do not think of anything bad, except, God, an accident, something. Although this is already bad. Even the messages from me have not been read, it is clear that she has not seen them. I do not know what to believe. Probably has no signal where it is.
– I do not know, I feel hopeless. So much ways of communication, telephone, net, motherfucker, and when a man disappears, you can not find her
– I suddenly thought about a thousand hypotheses, but none applies and I think it’s too early to speculate.
– That’s what I said. It’s too early to announce the police. She had to go through twenty-four hours and she was at train tonight at eight.
– look. I trust her and I know she is doing well or finding solutions. If something happened there is an accident or something independent of her will. I do not say believe in my feeling but I just do not feel something bad happened. Maybe she had gone up in a wrong train.
– Yeah, but she still have to let us know.
– That’s right. I can not figure it out, I can not imagine any hypothesis that might apply. I suppose we have nothing to do but wait until tonight
– Yeah, but if it does not show up to eight, I’ll call the police.
– we do that.
The argument had lasted for a week. We were arguing on the phone, in the facebook messenger, exchanging angry mail. It was my fault, of course, it was always my fault, I had to apologize to him many times, were not accepted, he did not want them, I understood the reasons why we quarreled, beyond them, but I felt there was more. Something I get rid of, but I did not dig deeper to see what. I was grateful even for the argument as long as it seemed to take it out of numbness.
For a couple of months, Răzvan was once again in a poor state, I was quite scared, he was weak with his eyes in the orbits, seemed extremely unhappy, and perpetuated by a bad state. I felt completely helpless, I wanted to help him, and I did not know how. The only person I had talked about was his problem, Clara, they had known themselves quite recently, changed the impressions after the meeting, and she thought that he seemed an ok guy, only to her I had revealed that I was worried about him. I knew she would not judge me, that she would understand my concern and I was sure my secret was safe, she was known as the most discreet human been on the planet. So no, Clara had not said anything, she was out of the question, something else had to be in the middle.
The Swedish summer had begun earlier as a strange unleashed, a kind of teenage crisis with sudden changes in the weather, but it was sunny and brighter than usual. In Stockholm, when it’s good weather, it’s a duty to leave everything alone and get out, the sun is precious, rare and sought after. In the last few weeks, we often met, out of the house under all sorts of pretexts, and out in the evening. Raisa was more lenient than Ella, even though she liked Razvan more for my sake, escorted us in escapade because she knew the hottest bars in Stockholm.
That night, to Raise’s desperation trying to be an arbiter, we continued to quarrel until we reached our favorite bar, a live rock place. It was crowded, even more than usual.
From the narrow terrace that stretched in the street to the inside scene, we passed through a mixture of ruffled jeans, corporal suits, tattoos, chains, tall Vikings, dreaded Latins, punk striped colors in shimmering colors, a panoply of figures and characters beyond music and drink turned every evening into a show. There was always something unusual happening there.
The sturdy, lustrous wood table we usually sat on was in a dark corner, they stood candles with thick melted wax in empty whiskey bottles, was close to the scene and at the same time was easily shielded from agglomeration. Finnish beers we only find there, bitter and cold, a direct beam of glass. The band that sang live was one of the best, old covers, known music, the drink was flowing all over, the floor became sticky, it was frenetic and it was dancing unleashed, the couples were kissing without inhibitions, the air exploded by sex and rock n roll. We threw our clothes on the benches, in the corner, and got into the rhythm, among the people crowded in front of the scene, full of the mood of atmosphere and the guitar riffs that sounded in a great way. By the end of the concert, in infernal noise, Razvan signaled me.
– Let’s go out for a cigarette.
– Wait for me, to get my coat.
We went out out, on the street, reconciled, warm and cheerful. We lit our cigarettes, holding our lighter to each other. Then I saw a trace on his face, I wanted to wipe it, but my hand extended his gesture by touching his face and beard in a comfort that surprised me too. Razvan caught my hand strong.
– That … this was something else, you know?
My hand was trapped between his hand and his skin and the moment was dangerous.
– I know. Let’s go in, we lose the concert.
Inside, the concert had just ended, the band closed their instruments, but the music was loud, hearing with the same force in the speakers, and the atmosphere was as hot. Raisa was at the bar, took drinks for everyone. Razvan stood in a corner, staring around, leaning against the wood floor of the scene. When I approached him to take him a beer, he took me with one gesture, completely unexpected and possessive. Surprised, I gathered all around him, his hands came directly to my skin, under the thin silk of the blouse, felt warm by the cloth of the jeans, and surrendered without opposed to dizziness and madness. Everything had disappeared around us, we were kissing desperately, with lips, teeth, entering one in another, not caressing about the world around us. Raisa was stunned at the table. He held the hug with his hands in my hair, holding me close and staying there, tight, lost, with my head on his shoulder, shivering because the sensation was unexpected, it was as if I had come back home for a long journey. We took space hard, slightly tainted, not knowing what the hell had happened and how we got there again.
The bar closed at three o`clock, we walked to the subway station. The street was covered with the plumes of poplars that seemed to be like a carpet, soft and dry, in some places the layer was so thick that we were sinking to the ankles. In the night, the air was full of floating dandelion that fell like a warm snow, increasing the night’s light without darkness and prolonging the unreal and ghostly sensation we traveled.
While we were waiting for the metro, Razvan seemed obsessed with an idea.
-I want to see the sunrise, it’s only an hour till then, I’m going to Gamla Stan. Come with me.
-Razvan, go home, was a long a night, we’re not going anywhere, we’re tired.
Raisa was tired, I saw. I was not, I was just dizzy and exalted. The drink, the music, the tremble that had reappeared in me.
– Come on. I do not want to see the sunrise alone. Really.
– We’re not going, it’s late, we going home.
Raisa almost pushed me in the wagon. The subway started, but I was incongruous, with my eyes on the window, at him, alone on the platform. I decided on one second and got up from my chair.
– Di, it’s late, we’re tired
– I can not leave him alone. I am sorry. I just can not. I call him and go back.
– Di, don t go, please, it s enough for today, it’s too much. You’ll meet him another day.
Raisa looked at me with pity.
– Good night. Talking tomorrow.
I waited for the subway doors to open, counting for seconds, and I ran off the stairs to catch the metro that was walking in the other direction. I called him as we lowered the stairs into the chase.
– Wait, I come back.
On the platform we hugged, rejoiced to see me, sincere and unprepared.
– I knew you were not leaving me. Let’s go, I know a good place to see the sunrise.
We walked slowly. down the bridges to the sea, across the wide and cobbled slopes, past the ships anchored in the docks. The morning was cold and serene. We sat down on a bench, we were trembling without knowing if it was cool or the fear that slowly enveloped me. He unwrapped his coat and received me inside, I was kneeling there with my heart, warm, well, I was tired, dizzy, and silent. Everything was suspended, all but the reality of the arm and the heat that surrounded me.
– I’m in love, you know?
– Shit. Again? It’s like a flu, you suddenly catch up, every spring, it gives you fever and chills, it consumes you with some sweat and lets you convalescent.
– And I can not tell you who it is.
– Seriously, it seems normal to you talking about your misfortunes in love to a woman you hold you in your arms?
– I’m sorry we fought so badly these days. I know you’re well-intentioned, and I know you want to help me. With you I always break the boundaries or I simply can not find them. I thought we were friends. Some kind of friends with benefits. Is not that what?
– Fuck off, honey. No, we are not. Friends helps each other, they understand each other. You’re not the kind.
– Oh, my dear girl, I’m sorry, I know you love me and I do not know how to do it. I’m completely overhead.
-It hurts me, and it’s like I’m in an idiot movie. It’s chronic disease, it’s addiction, I do not want this anymore, fuckin ‘take it. I love you for too long, like I do not have another way, and I don t like me loving you at all. And all attempts, absolutely all attempts have failed so far. Fuck, I’ve gotta end up with this story.
– Listen to me. All my life I’ve been looking for the perfect woman, the perfect love. I’m conditioned by a notion of a woman who does not know if there is anywhere. When I met you, I was determined to change, to try something else, you had so much life in you, I thought I was going after of you, that you could move me in another way. But you were right, we were not putting things the same. We are different . I’ve always felt a need for opposition with you, I’ve been against you, and it’s been a kind of competition all the time, hell knows, even when you were right I refused to admit it, I know. You see, all the women I’ve had next to me have gone mad in one way or another. All, but not you, you just stood up, you resisted, look, you came here, I kinda abandoned you at the beginning, you did not leave, you did well, I’m somewhat proud of you, job, excursions, friends, you have a full life.
– demonstrations. resistant, force. I just wanted to show you that I can move mountains. But it did not matter, you wanted the mountains to stay in their place. Or to the left instead of to the right. I never knew what you want.
– And look at me, I’m just a promise, always delayed, always unrealized, a butterfly without any direction rotating in search of the quiet of being. And yet people have expectations of me, I do not understand why …
– the plumes of poplars inspired you. Off, I know why, but you do not hear anything I say to you, and again, somehow it will be my fault. So what’s the point?
– And now I keep you in my arms and I’m extremely tempted to try again. Look, I do not even know what’s wrong with me and I do not know exactly where I am. But I know what’s in your soul and I’m afraid for my freedom and yours. In one way or another, I hurt you, I always do. I do not know if it’s worth it and I don t want to lose you, Di. I want you to stay in my life, there were so many happenings, we have so many beautiful memories. Would be a shame. You’re cold? You did not say a word.
– I’m fine.
I felt warm. Nestled in his arm, close to him, I was warm and well, good as a drug that makes you forget and you rise above you for a second. Everything I thought buried came to the surface, the thinness of the judgments and the self-confidence faded after a single kiss. The scratch beyond my eyes burned, it hurts me every elementary particle, every piece of soul, every touch of the past risen. It hurt even the sun red, cruel, strong, rising to the horizon, illuminating the beautiful buildings of the old city. It hurt me the abandon in front of which I knelt, again, because I did not know, I could not find with what to fill the gap of his absence. And I knew him too well, I knew that no matter what he said now, he would have no remorse, no thought, and I had fear that he would have the power to crush me when the time will come. The kiss carried all the pain, all the fright, all the strain, I was hanging on him and dissolving, ignoring the uncertainties and evidence. Hope, long isolated in a corner of the mind, was beginning to gain power. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe it’ll be good, even if I did not know what that means. After all, why was I afraid, what could happen?
Suddenly, came to my mind the image of a broken glass, which I had passed the day before, fragments of broken glass, stuck with long strips a scotch, a piece missing as a mouth grinning in the middle, a painting made for practical purpose, without intent of tragic, but which turned me out of the way, made me sit on a bench, stare at it long like it was an exhibit in a gallery. I photographed and put it on the facebook with a joke to get rid of that delusional picture of bleak forecast.
24. The perfect moment
I was lying on the bench with my arm under my head, looking at the compartment ceiling, relaxed as much as possible in the present circumstances. I’ve done enough reproaches. One of the hardest pressures was that the emigration had come from an impulsive moment, neglected too well without any well-established plan. Okay, the plan was happiness, without a clear picture of what it would mean without precise details, but I think that’s the universal plan of anyone even if it means something else to everyone. Perhaps Razvan was right, the plans must be thoroughly prepared to get the results you expect. He had deserted me with his obsession for details until I became a detail. One who no longer counts or disappears from sight. Or has no longer any significance
I do not know if the details are what really matters in the logic of a road or a situation. In fact, my plan has always been that I did not have a plan and I remained a believer in the hazard with the slogan “God laughs best when man makes plans.” A sketch is enough, I also said a few well-marked points, represented by some basic principles, outdated, say, but unwavering to me, trust, dignity and truth, otherwise, I left free entry to the events and persons who appear in road and the fulfillment of curiosities such as “see what appears around the corner”. The details that I see do not fit in the dimensions of time or space, but they are in the category of instinct and feeling, and this is an officially unrecognized category and hard to measure as accurately. So I’m still in the bar. The costs, um … let’s say the balance is on the plus, but my advice is not to try this at home without a good pre-training with serious workouts that consist of repeated idling, diving in the unknown and adulteration of the essences that you usually prefer keep them in the display case.
Razvan took to Millesgården in the first week of visit. The museum of Milles, the Swedish sculptor with his work exhibited in the city, is located in his former home and is one of the most beautiful tourist attractions in Stockholm. But not the beauty and amazing sculpture technique amazed me first of all, that the fact that the long fence that shelters the museum to the main entrance is an ordinary, banal one, you can pass like a usual house if you do not know what it is beyond him. The wide, unobstructed view of the garden with statues, mythology and sea views, on a high hillside of the middle island, with lush vegetation, wells, nymphs and fauna that were discovered at every step was overwhelming. A simple fence and an iron gate let to see nothing from the wealth and the unexpected loot beyond. For me it was proof that nothing can prepare you enough for suprise, pleasant or unpleasant hidden behind ordinary appearances. And yes, the details matter, but in search of perfection we lose sight of the fact that the banal aspects of our lives can contain the fantastic or surprising kite that can change everything at any time.
When we think of the perfect moment, the one in which every detail is imagined, then designed, traced and applied, we have the view of a long and thoroughly prepared process. In two, of course. Movies, books, stories, all indicate what we should feel, how to behave, what to expect, what is the right intensity of feelings, the ideal temperature to which romance should be served. Going after the perfect moment is more important than the moment itself, we are searching for the right man, the perfect night, the perfect evening, the smokeless candle, the proper smell, the petals without flowers, the right drink or the obligatory music. Appearance hunt under a template wind.
I chose my first holiday by putting finger on the map. There is a way to say, I had not heard of the island of Fuerteventura until then, but the Canary Islands group is the favorite destination of Swedes in long and sunny winters. And that destination, the price was right for me. When it comes to Sweden, everybody usually asks how I support the climate and the cold. Low temperatures are in the north, much farther, and the winters in Stockholm have been somewhat gentler than in Romania, and there are no high temperature fluctuations from one day to the next. Heavy in Sweden is not the cold, but the few hours of light and the absence of sunlight longer than usual, an atmosphere translated by mörk, a Swedish word that draws a dark and mournful persistence. A week of sunlight becomes an obligation not only for body health but also for the mind’s health. I originally wanted to go alone, but Mr Tudor and his wife decided to accompany me because they were curious, their holiday destination in all Swedish years was almost exclusively Romania.
After all, I was lucky, they both burned in the first hours at ocean, and stayed under the umbrellas next to the hotel pool and shops looking for bargains without customs taxes. It was my chance to spend time with the ocean and sand.
The Fuerteventura beach is one of the most beautiful of what I have seen so far, miles away with sand-loungers in long and dense dunes. People were few and scattered. The ocean had lifted its waves, the afternoon was hot. I tossed my towel and my bra into the sand and went into the water with the desire like a hunger. The waves rolled over me, slammed a few times, I came to the surface, got up, I came out again, I threw myself back, I faced strangely. I wanted to win playing with the ocean, quenching my waves, letting me float for a few minutes, eternally with my eyes in the sky. I had strained my will, the force, I was going into the waves and breaking them, spreading them, talking to them, fighting it, without a state, without spending the effort, I wanted to subdue the immense water of my will. And suddenly the miracle happened. The ocean calmed down and the waves barely curled over the surface of the water, and I let myself be taken and embraced by the current in a thoughtless float in which I was just myself, the water and the sky above me. When, late, I rest on the shore, immersed in the sand that keeps my contour temporarily, with a towel around my shoulders, with salt-filled in my hair, I breathe in quiet, quiet and grateful. My perfect moment was one afternoon, alone on the shore of an ocean, one in which my expectations, desires, and hopes were fulfilled to the last second.
25. The betrayal
“If I saw you drowning I would not hold you a hand, I would look at you from the edge and laugh thinking” what a loser “.
“We’re just some people from the net.”
The words had remained tattooed in my memory, and after months of months I felt them. There was a scar that was sensitive to mood swings or season, but now I could hear them out loud without losing my pulse. I wanted to remember them, to assimilate them, to transcend them, to transform them, to hide them from their original meaning so I can reproduce them without emotion and to give them another value, a warning, not to forget how easy it is possible to lose everything in a second or an evening that seemed unusual.
Facebook had closed circles, started and ended in messaging boxes. Cold, impersonal, with tones and shades without emotions, with years closed between punctuation and brackets. Cowardly, with the monitor screen used as a protection against emotions, with imbecile figures sent out of the keys, without looking into eyes and impassible like any artificial intelligence network. Excluding everything that was real as if I had not existed or there would not has been a real second. The revelation of the deception and the lies thrown forward for months was like a monstrous, slick and sticky spat from the head of the head down, a viscous dirt that I felt physically on my skin and that did not clean under the long, repeated showers. The nausea and the feeling of dirt came after me many days later. When I pressed the block button it was as if I had slammed a heavy stone over a tomb where I buried everything, time, sensations, thousands of messages, past, love, friendship. An entire piece of life sealed with a few heavy words and reduced to a small, dirty fair. The usual fb message seemed sent as an ironic conclusion, “Sorry you went through this.” The virtual compassion of the network caused me a hysterical laugh because, behold, the service robot had become warmer and more humane than the people who used it.
The attack had come without any warning. Like a punch in plex, without knowing, without any suspicion, without any intuition, on a normal facebook evening discussion, continued in private, and like any unexpected blow, well targeted, I fell to the ground. The surprise, the stupor, the shock, the cruelty of pushing on each of the well-known vulnerabilities, the evil mischance between the lines, left me with no air. Soon after, the lie, the hypocrisy, the indifference and the arrogance, once again struck me. And carelessness, heavier than all the rest. In the first moment I was not able to realize exactly what happened. I tried to minimize the situation and the effect. In my childhood, I was on a bicycle and I was hit by a car, I remember it happened the same way, I got up from the road without feeling anything, only after few minutes I perceived left shoulder pain, broken in tough contact with asphalt. Now it’s been almost a day when I got hurt, I had no reaction. Then it broked me, I felt the blows full. The first panic attack was so violent that I was afraid of a heart attack. Then, for days, I struggled to regain my breathing and normal heart rate. In the absence of oxygen, however, rage and hate climbing in my carotids, intoxicated every trace of reason. No more breathing, no longer sleeping, no more quiet, no more, I was caught in a thought like in a labyrinth without finding the way out of it. For a few days I fought with everything I had, with everything I knew, to find my balance and bring my reactions to a reasonable measure. It did not come out at all, I was out of control. Instead, the desire of an injured animal grew in me, to strike, to bite, to scream, to hurt anybody. I couldn t understood how nothing worth it, I could not accept that I suddenly disappeared, like a picture that you give it away because it occupies your space and memory, cynically, without any feelings, without any regrets, with some poor explanations, when, in fact, my only fault was that I was there, in the landscape. In my world, people are not trash bags you throw when you do not need them anymore. The heavy feeling of injustice darkens all my light.
Ella, to whom I had shown the discussions, had reacted directly, revolted
– Oh, my God, girl! Ig he was a hater and he could not to talk to you like that. Horrible. And the other conversation is like an official visit to a complaints office, that one with a downstairs little window so you have yo bow. You have been informed, some things have been brought to our attention, we do not receive any further complaints, thank you for coming to us. Brrrrr … Cyborg, bro. Incredible.
Of all the happenings you live in a human life, betrayal is one of those that kills your soul and confidence, because it always comes from close people and contains everything: lies, perfidy, contempt, cynicism of indifference and not carrying at all. Denying your condition of human been. It freezes your blood, the heat and forces you to walk with a glimpse of the high defense walls, which you want to raise immediately, as quickly as possible. But I did not have sketches, I lost the marks, I was completely lost, I was getting louder and losing power. I was fighting with myself like a blind man who waves his hands without a target. And without being sure where the ground is.
Mara was also a facebook person. I had several times discussed privately, nothing essential, generics for clear some kond of attitudes expressed through posts, we were not very close, we met more in comments on others. A scalp intelligence and an equally sharp reaction capacity made me more alert than usual when interacting with her. Terapist with vocation, from two posts and three comments, Mara “saw me” realized what was going on and decided not to pass by. She approached me directly. To invest trust in an online relationship after another had slammed me off the flakes was probably the craziest and fullest action of all. And yet I did not hesitate for a second, I went to the stretched thread of feeling and truth because I had nothing else left. Even now, after a long time, I approache to those weeks carefully, because the intensity with which I lived then all, risked ending with a short circuit. The panic attacks succeeded without being able to control them. For two days, an odorous smell of burned meat, hideous, had fallen into my nostrils, a smudge of smoke that I felt unceasingly, the nausea did not leave me for days, while the headaches became more and more harsh. The few free days that I took, when I felt that the story was over my capacity, had gone without improving any symptoms, I said I was going to work, nothing to do else. It was not a good decision, finally, the fatigue, the sleepless nights, the intense discharge of adrenaline and the effort to function at normal parameters, left me without power, I did not resist and I past out on one of the hospitals corrior. Mara knew I was not well, we had spoken in the morning, I was at the point where the revolt and frustration had erupted with all the force. Inspired, because I could not see or read, he had sent me audio messages on my phone and after a while, waiting for the result from the tomograph I listening them.
“I want to ask you to be careful, very careful, at this point you are at that point of madness where anything is possible in which you would be able to hurt someone or to hurt you. I see your suffering and I see you’re getting into deeper and deeper. The slip that you feel is real, you feel like you’re going in the abyss and I feel like you do not care. You need to be aware of what’s going on and you really need to get out of there. Look, even if I’m not standing next to you, I give you my hand, you have to take it and you have to make an effort. I know it’s damn hard but please try to catch it and get help. “
I was empty of thoughts, devoid of power, numb like after anesthesia, but the voice reached up to me, I listened once and once again, and suddenly I realized with horror that yes, she was right, there I was. When the doctor returned with the results, I asked him to let me go, give me a recipe or something, and I promised that I would go to the family doctor. I knew there was no way to solve this with medication, and I did not need any further investigation to figure out the size of the serios bad that I was doing to myself.
I started to look for the exit. I was dizzy and walked back to the walls. After that hours in emergency room, pills, whatever they gave me, I did not see very clearly, I didnt recognize the place anymore, and I was more lost than usual. The exit I finally found was to the immense parking lot of the hospital. It was evening, it was faint, it was cold, wet and dark. The place, though enlightened, was empty, at that time no man was seen, there were only a few parked cars. I did not see and felt the curb, I stumbled and fell on my knees without realizing it, and I stayed there for a few minutes, on wet cement without the will to lift me, ignoring the sharp pain of the knee, careful only to the source of pain in me. I cried there, fallen and alone, but there was no anger or revolt, just a huge mourning like crying without hope at a funeral. From there, I stood up hard, hard and slow and steady, I took it up, to clear my mind and back to life.
Mara gave me her hand and held her promises.
Somehow, I always know when the story ends badly, but then I could not do anything to change something or stop it, just as I can not do anything to stop this train from the raid on the rails. In the compartment I saw at one point the alarm signal, I pulled the handle, the red thread broked, but nothing happened. I did not understand why it did not work. Likewise, all my defense reflexes disappeared in the presence of Razvan. The wheel of luck, the carousel that had begun its drive five years ago was at full speed, and from there on, everything seemed small and meaningless, it was so tempting to feel danger mixed with nothing else. And although I should have seen the void bleating beneath me, I chose to close my eyes, hoping I could hold on to the chair or the gap will disappear. I was wrong.
I never did therapy. For me therapy meant a sign of weakness, a crack in the resistance casing with which I was armored, a lack of firmness unforgivable to a strong woman, as I was always regarded and as I myself thought of myself. Modern people, we move fast, we take decisions overnight, we do not have time to rest, we do not have to look deep into us, we do not have time to investigate causes or mistakes, no, we are not wrong, we usually blame others. We look in the mirror only in the morning, while we were washing our teeth. But the mirror just shows you what you want to see.
I found out that I was in a toxic relationship, even though I liked to give her a mysterious name, to call it karmic or destiny, as in the articles in a magazine forWomen. The reasons I remained, though it was obvious that it should have ended, I checked them one by one, and gradually I began to understand my reasons, to reconcile with myself and my way of being. And yes, I have accepted that love can be a wrong way, can infect, can add dependency, all that more, since love changed my trajectory. In addition, in a toxic relationship, you give everything you are and everything you have. Give the addiction to addiction and dream the power of the nightmare. Toxic love is hard to define, it is dense, it penetrates deep into the instinct of survival, and poisons every cell until you come to love your unhappiness and feed on it. All the toxic relationships are with the big flame and with maximum speed, they consume all the arsenal of affections, the limits are broken, the principles are a play, disappear principle and beliefs, appear pain with a new name. And, of course, transforms and transforms you because you come to know yourself with everything you are and especially with everything you did not think you are.
He has emptied me of resources and has forced me to find others that I did not know. In Swedish it is called sanering, cleaning after a fire is the most painful and exhausting work I have ever known. The hardest was to accept that the elections, point by point, belonged to me. I have no revelations, I have not become wiser or more calm, and I have not integrated myself into absolute, but when I began to understand causes and effects I regained the joy of being, simple, to bite from a apple and enjoy the taste of it. Difficult will be the right division, my balance is more complicated, it has three arms: leave the hazard of the hazard, which is your fault, assume and try to fix, others guilt let them carry it. I have not lost my trust in people, online or real, it’s no difference, but I’ve learned to make my choices after heartbeats. The heart never fails.
And suddenly, the train compartment became familiar, comfortable and warm. I was there, with my past, my fears, my desires and my hopes. I do not need anyone to confirm my memories. The fact that I was disconnected from any source of information and everything that meant contact with others did not scare me anymore. I was in a dry place, I had a two-shift backpack, a bottle of water, and a clear mind. I knew there were dear people who love me for what I am and who worry about me. And that’s enough to give me power.
will I ever make mistakes in the future? absolutely. I am the sum of my mistakes and my decisions, good or bad, and every single incident I have experienced makes me what I am. I found out that the evil exists, I knew, but I forgot that it has many forms, that hell exists, it is in us, and I have no right to ignore it, at most to realize how far I can approach. I can not change anything from what it was, why I would do it, I save a lot of beautiful things from the fire, there are facts and happenings that have led me in unpredictable ways, even though this train is part of them, the road has it has to some point, though I still can not understand him. Slowly and patiently I’ll find the right place and one day I’ll look there, arranged in boxes just like the red shoes that were so dear to me when I saw them, some of whom I tried to I wear them but they do not fit, they were pushing my little toe from my left foot, tightening me and they were not comfortable, but I did not want to throw them because some things just can not be thrown. The Controller was right again. There will be no forgiveness, no return, no guilt, no punishment. Nothing, just a warehouse in which I am free to look from time to time and it would be healthy to be a bit of order, to make it easier.
I lay on calm, on the bench. this strange train, he will stop somewhere, perpetuum mobile has not yet been invented and gasoline, diesel or power line wiil end at some point. I did not have internet, so I could not look for Google to see what this Swedish train was up to. But my fear was gone, I could sleep to the sunrise, or until I got to somewhere. The train goes forward, the wheel noise on the tracks, monotonous, had become part of me, and a touch of calm and rest was welcome. Before I fell asleep, the words projected on the floor of a museum in Stockholm, visited shortly, came to me.
When I grow up, I wanna be me. Or was it a meme on facebook?
27. Some kind of end
I woke up with the sunlight on my face, not knowing exactly where I was, opening my eyes, turning around, stretching my arms, and after two seconds of confusion, I remembered. I was in the compartment, it was in the morning and the train stopped. The train STOPPED! I jumped up like a bow, and rushed to the window. It was a train station, a real train station! I shook my boots, took my backpack and ran to the wagon door. It was not open. I started banging with the fists,on the platform were people, someone must see me. A man in uniform, lifted my eyes to me, probably heard the noise, then stared as if he could not believe it. He had seen me, so I exist. I signaled him to open my door, but he stared at once and ran somewhere inside.
Angry, I started to hit the window even harder, I felt it panic again. It s not posible, is not, someone has to get me out of here. This time I looked after the fire extinguisher, I was able to break the window, I will not miss this opportunity because I was afraid the train would leave again. After a few minutes, the man returned, followed by three others, two of whom were in police uniforms. Wtf?
I heard them open the door, I was looking forward. The cops looked at me as an appearance, I smiled crookedly, and I thought briefly how I looked, awakened from sleep, with the laces loose on the boots, the unspoiled hair, the coat hanging over the training clothes which I had slept in. But it did not matter, the wagon’s door was open, I inspired the air, what I felt was pure happiness, I could go out, I could go, I was finally free. When I lowered, they surrounded me, one of them show me a card and began to speak in a language that sounded northern, but it was different from Swedish. It was only then that I looked at the display panel that was a few meters away from me. Copenhagen. I was in Denmark.
– English, please, I asked, while trying to get back to reality
– Please show us the identity papers and then you will accompany us to the office at the station. There should be no one in this wagon, we’ll have to figure out how you got there and what you did during the journey.
Aha. They took my backpack, the phone I held in my hand, two of them stayed at the wagon door, the other two turned left and right, showing me the direction I had to take. Wow, the scene was unreal, as if I was an international offender. Good thing, they did not put any handcuffs on me. They escorted me to the long platform, covered with a huge glass dome and metal supported on high columns, somewhere inside the station. It was strange to be so, between two cops, it seemed to me that everyone was looking at me and I stopped to tie my shoelaces, at least to show like a criminal with the legally-attached shoelaces. I then went into a red brick building and climbed upstairs, probably there were the railway police offices. They opened the door of a room, and I saw a chair beside a table of stainless steel feet. I sat down trying to stay calm and make my thoughts in order. It was the first time I had made statements to the police. But at least it will finally clear up this whole story.
I was alone for a few minutes, then a man and a woman came in. The man was massive, blond, with a trimmed face, wearing a pair of regular jeans and a blue blouse, the woman in uniform, young and very serious. Bad cop, good cop, I thought right away, too many American movies with cops. They sat in front of me, they put on my table the Swedish identity document, the one I gave, then they once again asked me the identification data, while the woman was fast typing on a laptop with the cover turned towards me.
– When did you get up and how did you get on the train?
I smiled and told them that I wanted just as much to find out what happened and how I arrived alone in a wagon that was not open anymore and at a destination not on the original ticket.
– Let’s get started then, said the cop.
I told them everything I knew. Arriving in station at Stockholm Central at eight o’clock in the evening with destination Gothenburg and purpose, the conference I was supposed to be a translator. The Controller who had come to check my ticket told me the train would not stop until morning, I would be alone in the wagon and did not know the destination I was arriving at. Then I noticed that the wagon was empty, the train stopped at the estimated time, the one I was supposed to go down but I had not seen any station, the door was not opened and no one else ascended. I abstained from talking about the dice story, or about stopping the train in the middle of the night, as the Controller had told me, sounded science fiction and I was afraid they would take me to a consultation, but I told them that I had seen him once during the journey, although I was not clear where he was hiding. They listened to me, asked me a few questions, then asked me to I put everything on paper.
-I have the right to make a phone call?
-You are not charged with anything. But we need to do some checks so please wait quietly. And tell us if you still need something.
– A water and a sugar coat if it can.
It could. The tall policeman brought me a glass of hot coffee, a glass of water, put a few sheets and a pen on the table, told me he was leaving me alone, and he turned back later. I did not have much to write outside those already said, the text would be short. I’m done pretty fast and I remaind waiting. After a while, the policeman came in, picked up his papers, threw a short curtain as if he were asking “just that?” I shrugged, I did not know much.
– You have to wait about two hours. The wagon has video cameras and we check the images to see if they match your story.
I’ve gotten my lips upset.
.Did I have a choice?
– Not really, said the man, still seriously.
I stayed in the room for quite some time, but with a good feeling, I knew it will be all clear, but I was bored, and I was hoping to finish the checks as soon as possible. I wanted to call the girls, I knew they realized something was wrong and I wanted to calm them, to tell them I was fine. I forced myself not to think of anything else, the memorial night was anyway too long. On the other hand, Copenhagen …. “You’ll get somewhere, but it’s not where you expect to be,” said the Controller. I was going to laugh. Under no circumstances would I have planned to visit the capital of Denmark. When I get out of here I send a message to Alex and Lianei, two friends online, if they have time, it’s a good opportunity to have a cup of coffee and get to know each other in real life. Without doing anything, time has passed hard and patience has never been the point my forces. Then, in a little while, as I was tired enough to see the rooftop sight seen through the glass pane, the cop returned to the room and sat down. He had lost his immobility, the expression of his face was telling me “ready, it’s over.”
– You do not excuse it’s been so long. We owe some explanations. The wagon you had boarded was one for secure transport. There are special wagons for this type of transport, as you’ve probably noticed, they are built without doors between them. We looked at the cameras and saw how, in Stockholm’s train station, you were on the train without hesitation. The one who had to guard the entrance to the wagon was missing for a few seconds, turned back and giving someone some explanation, because no one stopped you, then closed the door without checking the inside. In Gothenburg the wagon was moved to another line and joined the train that arrived here. Again, it was not checked because nobody thought there might be anyone in it. In addition, during the night there was a locomotive malfunction and the train was stopped for two hours, arrived in Copenhagen with a long delay. There are serious leaks, a security breach that needs to be resolved.
– I know when it stopped, the current was interrupted, I was somewhere in the field, there was no light, it was raining and I heard no other noise. But it did not seem like two hours had passed. Maybe I slept, I slept a few times. Actually, then I saw the Controller second time.
He looked at me a little strange and continued.
– The contents of the shipment were also checked, and it was a safe box, that seems that you never approached on it. That’s why you’ve waited longer, we’ve told the owner to come in person to take the transport, we wanted to make sure nothing’s touched and nothing is missing. Meanwhile, we watched the pictures during the trip, I checked your identity and it looks like it’s okay. You are free to leave. However, remain at our disposal if there are any further questions or statements.Can I go? Oh, good! Thank you thank you! Yes, yes, you know where to find me, you have my address, my phone number. Anytime or if I can help with anything, please contact me.
I wanted to get up from my chair but I remembered that I still had a question.
– I still have a question. What was that elderly gentleman, the Controlor, have you found him?
– It’s the only inconclusive aspect in the whole story, and we get a little confused. No one else was there or been found in the wagon, and no person with the signs you have described has been involved in this action. I checked all the pictures inside, there was no one in the wagon outside you, that I can confirm with certainty. I do not know what to say, it is obvious that you were scared enough when you woke up there alone, saw the records, you moved from one compartment to another, and at first you were in a state of turmoil, we say natural, for such an unusual situation. You may have imagined someone else, I do not know, to clarify you probably should consult a psychologist.
– But I spoke to him twice. I think you have convinced yourself that I’m not crazy and I’m not inventing anything. But I certainly do not.
The policeman has been looking at me for a long time, so I told myself not to insist, maybe they change their mind and not leave me alone.
– I’d like to give me an indication, the address of a hotel, a city accommodation, I have to organize myself. Arrive in Copenhagen is for the first time, for me. I’m thinking about staying for a day or two, I have friends here, and it’s a good opportunity to meet them and visit the city. Then I go back to Stockholm, there’s no point in going to Gothenburg, I’m going to get a plane ticket, it’s a better chance to get on the wrong plane. I think.
The policeman smiled, the face with corner features changed in a second.
– I drive you to a hotel, if you wait a few more minutes, we go together, my car is in the parking lot.
– Oh, yes, thanks a lot. I appreciate any help, I’m pretty disoriented at this time. I go out, on the stairs and wait for you, I can not wait to smoke a cigarette. Meanwhile, I’d like to phone home, I’m sure people is already looking for me.
He returned my phone and backpack. I guess they checked, also, the phone and I was wondering if they looked through the photo folder, there were some more … personal ones. I barely kept myself from looking at the phone, seeing if I found anything unusual, though it was obvious that they were professional and it was hard to believe there would be any trace. I walked out of the stairs, it was cold but it was sunny and I stretched out my face to catch some rays. The cigarette pack was in my backpack, I took out a cigarette, and started looking after lighter in my pockets. Suddenly, I felt my hands cool, and a chill crossed my head to my feet. In the right pocket of my coat were those two dice I had received from the Controller. I took them carefully, and I stared at them with a lot of mixed feelings. There were two common dice, somewhat larger than those used in table games, but smaller than those I had seen through casinos. The black points of the numbers were well embossed, the edges were smooth, the faces of the translucent cubes seemed untouched and unused. I lifted my eyes back to the sun, then to my open palm. The Controller had left me, I had no doubt, but I was not afraid. The smile came, tis is it, I am going to leave the hazard to the mysteries and the mystery to the unanswered questions. I locked my fist, put the dice back in my pocket, I thanked in my mind and promised to use them.
The signal of unread messages and notifications, like the sound of popcorn baking in the microwave, came from the phone that finally got its share of the internet. I ignored them and reached the number of Ella. The phone just started to ring and she answered right away.
– Ella? Yes, it s me. I’m fine, but I got to Copenhagen. Wait, I’ll tell you, long story. You will not believe what happened to me ….