romanian literary monthly

~ Elena Baciu Calugaru: „The memory of the living“

As soon as I approach to the barrage, I keep on the right and drive the car in a lane surrounded with tall fir-trees, biting a little out of the grass. I`m taking from the luggage rack the little bag with  ashes. I`m walking on the bank of the Dâmboviţa. I`m in front of the landing stage. A lot of people, I go up stairs. Some of the people are fishing. I get out in the road. A group of the pioneers are leaving for. I go further. I feel like a malefactor who is paving his way. I`m thinking of you, Emil. I quicken my paces. I must be only with Ion`s desire and with my duty. I go with fear on the bank. The dam is tall, I shouldn`t have the  power to throw the little bag directly into water, who knows it should knock against the edges. I`m afraid. And I shouldn`t want to hurt Ion.

My Lord! I see his forehead bleeding, too. I find a place favorable to  my intentions. On the dam, more many people, too. I turn the switch to “ON” and I see him in Cornelia`s house, joking: “what beautiful girls come here!” ‘Mother comes by nine’, my friend whispers. ‘Here, I will be’, I hear the young man with black eyes, looking at me through his glasses. I was being followed by the soul of his sight. It was in December. I had the sentiment that those black eyes were melting the snow that  sparkled under my paces.

I am at Athénée with Cornelia. The sight guides me on the left where I discover Ion. He was with a friend. Both were complaining of the failure in their attempt of the girls` conquest.  After the concert, at the cloakroom we hear: “they have thin coats as their youth is, too. Since I have tried to load my coats with joy and I attracted Ion in this program, too. Outside it was raining. Cornelia  said us: ‘Come on, take your arms. You won`t need to marry, too’.

It lapsed a year of walks, and carrying  in his arms, in the evening, when he was picking up the flowers of parks for our love deep breathable. He let me at the gate. I was sleeping kissing his kiss from my hands and arms. I go farther. The little bag is striking my leg. It is still light. I`m passing through the time and see myself with imperial crown and engagement ring. Then undergraduates. I cannot  forget how confessed me: -“my true mother is your mother”. I was the foundation of the house, he the windows and the roof. Our joyfulness stimulates the friends at dreamy state. I`m going to my car. I don`t know what I do. I`m going down the Splai  and I see a firm. All kind of memories. Here Gigi, the Ion`s brother worked. On the left, the building where I waited you, Emil, only three weeks ago. Another coincidence, I said. The thought at this triangle, Me, Ion, You …I feel the pulse galloping exceedingly. I bear Ion with me and I remember the first evening together with you, Emil. I was in the room near the musical combine. I wanted to change a cassette. He approached me. He pulled the curtain and took me in his arms, kissing  me longer, saying me that he loves me and his heart is only mine. After short unrest the emotions disappeared. Eyes on eyes, eyelashes fell in kiss.

I put in motion my car to the bridge. I park it. Memories again.  Mountain roads with rucksack on the back. Ion and I. It seems I hear the harsh song of the branches  under our feet. We tramped the branches of a fir-tree with our dreams. In the park a policeman appeared. I am afraid of what that can follow.  Ion on the bedside near me. It was one of the nights of sleeplessness with hidden death. Suddenly: ‘You are young, you will have to marry again but, if you meet a cad, avoid him. You don’t` know either what good girl you are. The tears  speak’. I hear him: ‘Incinerate me’. ‘No, I groaned’. ‘And my ashes throw in to the Dâmboviţa water. I want from my human being doesn`t remain anything. Why? The life punished me too severe.  You know my living’.

I feel that I must change my mind. I see the desert of Damask covered by highways with their asphalt like  water floating over the red land. Another journey with Ion. I see Palmira that services as  testimony of the mixture of the civilizations and especially death, only the old Roman library reminds more that, here, people lived. Here is Malula where somebody said that Jesus Christ should have preached and then the cave of the Saint Tecla. In the calendar of the fate, the earthquake of the 6th century destroyed Palmira, Petra and Jerash. The lapse of the time with wrinkles at eyes and mouth, too. How many roadswith the perfume of the orange-trees driven in the rhythm of the engine of “Maritza” The play of the two dogs pays me attention that I must turn back to the river. I feel to stifle. ‘Elena!’

‘Yes, dear Ion’.

I`ll see again on the bedside, too, saying me: ‘What fool we were, we waited to be bride, we lost ten days of love’.

I feel an irritation  on my face. I rub easy. I hear him: ‘Come on, don`t you weep. Di, Di, my horse. I keep myself well’. I  carry him on my shoulders. I have the power to bear him. I am again on the border of Dâmboviţa at a few paces from the bridge. On the other border a young man with his trousers rolled up  gives a pail of water to a woman. This throws water and cries: ‘Have you been waitness?’ ‘We have’, answered a girl with a black kerchief on her head. Somebody has died and they were carrying him water. I keep the death in my arms and death was there. The ritual was going on. There  were lots of people with burning candles. Another policeman came. Now it will even be impossible to fulfil my mission. But this doesn`t remain how goodness know just a few instants, for looking above the crowd bored with all what he had seen  without looking all round I untying the little bag at its mouth and I let free the ashes. I see how the powder is scattering. I feel giddy.

On the opposite side of the river a man in a light-coloured suit with dilated eyes. What odd imagine! I move slowly and with difficulty to my car. Really did he see me? I don`t care. Forgive me, Ioane, that I was too late. The Dâmboviţa will bear you to the Danube and from there to the Sea, and then to the Island of Istanbul.  On my way at home I see the black eyes like coffee beans and I remember… “I was sitting at the table with two women friends. I was narrating them that I dreamt you and me in your arms. Ion said to me that the death would not be. Suddenly the flowers under your portrait  began moving in a forced vibration up and down. I looked at the lamp. It wasn’t earthquake. The flowers recognized you, Ion. The memory of the living. I reach home. I open the bottle with wine given by you, Emil. I telephone you. Your answer has something nervous. But the triangle, Me, Ion,You got loose. Emil, I am waiting you!


%d bloggers like this: