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Romania, 1989





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2002 Doina Horodniceanu





My boss, col. Badescu, pounces in the room, because this is the only way he can come in. It is his style, no matter where he enters. He considers himself smart:

            “Everybody has something to hide. If you take them by surprise, they would let out. That’s for sure. They would try to hide something: money, papers, arms, drugs, whatever…”

Plus when he comes in a room, unless it is a Ball Room, it will get darker. Regardless the direction he moves, he will cover at least one source of light. Let me describe him. He is six foot eight and two hundred forty pounds. If he needs to descend some stairs, he does it to one side, like the skiers. Otherwise he would tumble down. He has an expression of gangster or policeman on his face; depending on who is watching him. If I can’t pass unnoticed, check him out.

However, I have to reveal that he knows what he is doing. He is professional. He has no rival for this matter.

As usual, he doesn’t greet me. He considers it unnecessary.

I don’t say anything either. I let him do its stuff. He skims through the papers and the reports scattered on my desk. He organizes them in some kind of order. Maybe the order of his thoughts.

“What’s the time?”

Without raising my eyes from the papers I have in front of me, I point to the clock on the wall.

“It’s there. Eight o’clock.”

“Hm, do you think they are gone yet?”
            “Considering the quietness, yes, I would say so. At least most of them.”

“What’s your theory?”

“I have no theory. I talked to their leader; I made arrangements at the train station to take them back… I followed the orders.”

I watch his sad and tired smile. I can guess exactly what’s in his mind, behind the wrinkled forehead. The struggle between the orders had to perform and his conscience.

“I think I’ll go home now. I need your report about everything that happened, first thing, tomorrow morning.

“Off records, what’s your opinion about all these?”

“I think it was a regrettable mistake. We’ll see the consequences…”

I shut up and wait. I have nothing else to do. From any side I would look at him, he is electrified. He is buzzing. If I would try to plug him in, the whole city would blow up. Only his voice is frozen.

“Try to finish the damn report and go home. I’ll see you tomorrow morning.”

And he left, without a good-night or a look back.

The city looks even darker than usual in case something like this might be possible. Only a few lights are on. The streets are still under terror. The windows are covered with heavy curtains. All the blinds are pulled down. At nine o’clock the streets are deserted. A few pedestrians run to catch a taxi.

The most astonishing thing about this massacre is the ferocity, absolute bestiality of the events. It penetrates even through the official communication: one hundred people injured at the university. One hundred people during one morning. One hundred victims during only one morning. Among them are kids mutilated for the rest of their lives.

            When I finish the report, I check my watch again. Ten thirty. I pour some more whisky, I light another cigarette and I go back to Marta’s diary.


February, beginning of spring

            Marta, I Marta, I’m very unhappy with my way of living. I read a book once in while, I don’t paint anymore, I don’t do anything. I waste my time teaching and tutoring and what’s left is a sentiment of confusion, of dissipating. I would like to begin working on my projects. I have so many, but I don’t have enough energy to start them. This would require some organization, some discipline. The only thing that might help me would be a few days at Portitza. I see myself barefoot on the empty beaches with the sea in front of me. Laying on a chaise-lounge on the deserted island; or alone on the pontoon, all by myself.

            And this spring, unbearable spring. At six o’clock in the evening it is still light. Last night I visited Petre and Ioana. When I left Ioana was crying and laughing at the same time. She forbade me to say ‘Good night”. This spring is driving all of us crazy, including the most serious ones.


Monday, March

            Marta, I Marta narrate:

            It’s a white, blue, pink, transparent spring day. A little bit too cold. Victor has not dared to leave the house for the last few days. It was enough for him to look out the window and see the gray coats in the shadows, to take refuge in the studio, between paintings and cats. He didn't need any food or drink. The only things he would ask for were cigarettes.

"Come on Victor, they are not going to kill you, not until you finish the portrait."

I used to tease him.

"Yes, but they will do it for sure afterwards because they will not like it and will declare me "enemy of the people," he used to say with a rigid smile.

"Then, you will make it in such a way so that they will like it."

This week’s new regulations brought us three new economical measures: the import cuts (which means: no imported food, cigarettes, or coffee), the increase of the electricity’ prices by a factor of two and the interdiction to possess or use any kind of typewriter. All the typing machines have to be turned in to the police station by the end of next week.


To be Continued...


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Needs major revision

Excellent writing!