THE STATE OF NORMALITY
By DOINA HORODNICEANU
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© 2002 Doina Horodniceanu
It’s three o’clock in the morning and I’m still in my office. Taking into account my desperate need for happiness, I can tell spring is in the air. Incredible night, blue-silver, transparent, weightless, a little bit unreal. Portitza would look fantastic in this light. All I want to do right now is to love. Anyone: Marta, Mia, Ioana, none of them, a stranger, it doesn’t matter, just to be allowed to love. Instead of that, I have to deal with the mess produced by these miners. If I would commit suicide tonight I would do it with serenity, almost contentedly… I would never be able to tell Marta what she represented to me; and even I’m not sure anymore if I loved her with a real strong love or with my last instincts of survival. I know I should be skeptical regarding my love sufferings. I know they will go away one day. I will forget them; I will find them ridiculous and absurd. But all these wise, objective thoughts can not disperse my depression, my absurd necessity to see Marta, to think of her, to remember certain moments.
I have a lot of regrets. For not doing things I wanted to, or for doing a few that I hated, in the name of a truth that didn’t exist; in the name of a false morality. Sometimes I didn’t call Marta because I knew the phones were tapped and I was afraid of?! I don’t know what. I never wrote to her. I was rude and I was cheap acting with no good reason, even if at the time I invented some excuses. I don’t think Ioana deserved any of my sacrifices and I don’t think she can appreciate or at least understand it. I don’t think Marta or anybody else I hurt deserved my rudeness either. But right now there is nobody anywhere who is able to help me, or to change anything.
When I look back at all the events that took place since this winter, it’s like I’m opening a phone book. People, lots of people... Destinies, addresses, graves. Phone numbers that nobody answers anymore, or if they do it's someone else. And again destinies on different meridians, different postal codes and “good mornings” said in foreign languages.
This December revolution was a political play for a few of us; for the others it was an act of sincerity. What’s left behind? A few ruins, a fallen symbol, a lot of deaths. A little bit of ash… That’s all. It is a sad account but it’s not depressing anymore. I tell myself that there will not be a price high enough to pay for the right to be alone. Without half-memories, without half-sentiments, without half-truths.
Two months ago Marta told me she decided to leave the country for good.
"I think there's nothing left here. Before, we had the hope that one-day HE will die and we will be allowed to live again. We believed in a free Romania, without terror, without superstitions in which we might live one day. And then we were more courageous, younger, happier to exist. As miserable as our lives were, we still wanted to live long enough to see with our own eyes the fall of the dictatorship. There's no hope left now. I want to go as far away as possible. Australia or New Zealand. Will you help me with the passport and visa?"
Yep, she is right. There's nothing left here to live for. The best proof is the miners’ interference. This is why she called me today. The passport is ready for her to pick up tomorrow at the airport. She can decide her destination then.
It’s strange how I don’t have any thought or desire to leave, to run. Only some nostalgic dreams that wouldn’t push me to take any action or to start any project.
So Marta will leave tomorrow. I saw her yesterday, for a little while. Let’s face it: if I entered the café last night it was only to see her. And she was there - with Anna and Tudor. I don’t know if she was beautiful or not. I was happy to see her. She seemed happy too; but I know very well that her sudden smile was a grimace, not an expression; and she would display the same nice, warm smile for anyone else who approached her table. She had very white, radiant skin and young, tender flesh.
All I know is that I love her. I imagine what a complicated but full life I would have between these two women: Marta and Ioana. Complicated life! Is there a more stupid, senseless complicated life than mine?!
It's four o'clock in the morning. The church bell rings. I'm still in my office. I'm alone in the whole building. It has been more than twenty-four hours since I last slept. I am very tired. Too many sleepless nights! I would need three days of sleep at Portitza to feel better. The miners should be on their way back now. I turn the radio on. It's playing Bach - the Art of the Fugue. I’ve listened to a lot of Bach recently. Last Saturday, at the Athenaeum, Concerto for two violins in D minor and at home, almost every night after one o’clock for the last two weeks. I think I like this music very much. I go to the bathroom. In front of the sink I wash the upper half of my body. I shake like a wet dog. I put a new shirt on. In one hour the sun will rise and a new day will start. I brush my hair. Well, yes, you can say I have hair. It’s rich and dark. Usually if you are going bald it happens before you turn thirty. I'll never be bald, I'm pretty sure about that. I am thirty-nine but I feel old, ugly and abused. I don’t feel any pleasure contemplating my face in the mirror. I am sick of this pale man with tired eyes. The nose is straight but the corners of my lips are going down. I put all the papers and files back in their folders. I try to avoid looking back at my life. The Past or the Future. I have a sentiment of uselessness that’s depressing me and I would like to get rid of it. I take my hunting gun from the rack and I start cleaning it.
To be Continued...
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