All posts by nitzavlad

The eyes, chico…

I just remained there, sitting at a high table in the coffee-shop window, looking outside at all the people that were busy living their lives, whichever those might be.
A tall man in a suit rushing through the crowd, late for a meeting, a kid cruising on a skateboard, one young couple kissing at a stoplight, a dancer performing for coins at the corner, a police officer whistling anxiously in the intersection, a woman holding her child…

The more I looked, the more I realized that in each of them I was seeing a little piece of myself at one point or the other in my life. The realization was strange but it felt good to see a familiar detail, an annoying reality, a childish mistake. I missed that…looking at myself, even if in a somewhat twisted way.

It seems that time isn’t what it was anymore. We’re constantly running, speeding or rushing through the days, the months, the years…and the time for introspection is always postponed or underestimated.

During the week, we barely survive, crawling from Monday morning until we stand tall, full of energy on a Friday evening, living the weekend as if those are our last days on earth. We spare little time for us. Maybe a few minutes on a Sunday evening, when we think with melancholy about the past two days.

The world has changed…and I have changed with it many times. Probably with each bucket of five years came a different man with it.

I see it in the eyes of the friends that I learned to love too. Their eyes seem older in one light, younger in the other and I know it’s not the age that changed them…it’s the experience that left one more shade in them with every passing moment…light green, dark blue, amber red…

If I would believe in souls, I would be confident that the eyes always tell the truth about a person. Probably that’s why I seldom look closely in the mirror.

“The eyes, Chico. They never lie.”
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As long as time smiles on me

He was out of breath when he reached the doors. He opens them slowly as if being afraid not to attract too much attention, as if being afraid that people could see how late he was. It was the first time he came to this place. She suggested it.
“Isabel’s” was the name.

For sure not a high end restaurant he thought, but a cozy one nonetheless.
The bar was stretched against the wall on the left side, from the entrance until the end of the room. Around 15 tables were scattered around, all covered with tabletops in white and light blue stripes and each had a vase with one rose inside.
There was space for more tables but probably there was no need for them. Even now, on a Saturday evening, only two of them were taken. A middle age couple occupied one and an older man smoking a cigarette the other. There was a small stage at the far end of the room  where three to four people could performed. It could be seen that it hasn’t been used in a long time however. He briefly imagined how a concert would look like in this place since he was a musician on his own, but then he remembered himself and why he was here. But most of all remembered that he was very late.

He went at the bar and approached the bartender.

“Good evening. Have you seen a beautiful woman in the last half an hour, waiting for an idiot like me?”

“Sorry, but nobody came or left in the last hour.”

“Perfect. I’ll have a glass of white wine in this case.”

This changed things of course. He was not the one that is being late anymore. But how come she is?  This was one of the few moments when he regretted his decision of not wanting to own a phone. He thinks that phones limit your freedom and kill your creativity. He still thinks that, but he had to admit that today a phone would have been useful.

He took a table in the middle of the room, pulled out a cigarette from his pack and was searching for a lighter. He realized that he doesn’t have one.

Two tables away from him, the old man was still smoking.

“Excuse me mister, may I borrow your lighter?”

“Of course” he responds, “but smoking is not a healthy habit, you know?”

“We all have to die of something, or for something.” he said, smiled and took the lighter from the old man’s stretched out hand.

“I guess you’re right. We do.”

He handed the lighter back and return to his table. The old timer was still looking at him as he was taking his seat.

“I overheard your conversation with the bartender. I’m also waiting for someone. What if we are waiting together. Time could fly quicker.”

“A conversation never hurt. Why not?” he said to him then took his glass of wine and moved to the old man’s table.

“Who are you waiting for, if I may ask?” he said.

“Do you hear this song?” the old man asked

He didn’t notice it until now, but now that the man asked, he realized that there was a well sung Jazz playing in the background. In the fashion of older times. Not a classical, he could hear some foreign influences in the way the words came out from the singers mouth and in the way the tunes were played, but it was a good one. From what he could guess, the singer was a young lady, probably in her mid 30’s.

“I do hear it. It’s a very good jazz. Probably from the 60’s if I can take a guess at it.”

“You guessed well. It was recorded in ’64. It’s my wife that sings it. It is her that I am waiting for. She is also late. But better late than never I always tell myself when I’m waiting for her.”

The young man smiled hearing that. He could have said the same thing.

“How did you meet her?”

“Oh kid, that’s a long and sad story.”

“I have plenty of time.” the young man said with a semi smile.

“So be it then. I will tell you our story.”

“We meet in the late 50’s in Cuba. In the Havana harbor, on a street called La calle del Placer. The street of pleasure.
I was a young sailor back then, wanting to do what all sailors do when they arrive in a harbor. Search for a brothel and pay for a woman to sleep with.

I found a brothel and payed for a woman, but when I’ve seen her, I couldn’t lay with her. Not because she was not beautiful, quite the opposite, she was the most beautiful woman that I have seen in my whole life, but she was afraid, scared, horrified of me. I did not touch her, but I talked with her instead. The whole night.

My Spanish was not the best, but we understood each other. She told me that I should have been her first customer. That her parents died when she was little and that her brother sold her to the brothel so he could put food on his family table. She told me that she doesn’t hate him for that, but I couldn’t believe her.  I should have been her first customer but I didn’t touch her even though I never felt more attracted to anyone before. I paid for the whole night, to be sure that no one puts a finger on her.

I felt deeply in love with her so naturally, the next day she was the only thing on my mind. I was feeling a strong urge to take care of her.

I went back to the brothel before it opened and waited for the doors to open. Once they did, I went in with a pistol that I stole from my captain in my hand, went upstairs to her room and took her with me. I didn’t hurt anyone, but I would have if I needed to.

That day, she was the happiest girl in this world in I was feeling the same.

I hid her in our boiler room and until we reached home one month later, I smuggled food and water for her daily and each moment that I could, I spent it with her. Luckily we were not discovered.

I quit sailing, got a job as a bartender and she started singing each Saturday evening. It was in this place where we are right now.
Faith smiled upon us and after a few years we were able to buy it. I chose the name and named it after her. Isabel’s

We were madly in love. She was the only thing that mattered to me. We got married one year after we arrived here. Married in the eyes of God at least. Not in front of the law since she was not living legally in the country.

We lived in harmony for more that 11 years. We had everything. A nice house, a good business but most of all we had ourselves.

Until disaster struck and destroyed our hard build paradise.

An Emigration Officer found out about her in a drunken conversation at that god forsaken bar over there. The next day he stormed this place and took her in front of my eyes.

She was screaming as they grabbed her. I tried to stop them but one of them hit me in my head and I fell unconscious.

When I woke up I went straight to the Emigration office but she was not there anymore. The officer, however, was. I beat him  with a possessed rage and nearly killed him while I was crashing his skull with a chair, but a police officer stopped me in time.
I spent 6 years in jail for that outburst. I regretted it every day of it. Not for what I did, but because I couldn’t go and find my wife in that time.

When I was released I sold everything and went to Cuba to search for her. 10 long years I searched. Nobody seen, heard or knew her. I didn’t find any trace of her existence. As if she only lived in my heart.

More than 40 years passed since the last time I’ve seen her. I haven’t touched or looked at another woman since.

Each Saturday, when her concert would have been, I come here and I wait for her. The people here still do me a favor and play her songs when I am here.

As long as time smiles on me, I will wait for her.”

The young man didn’t know what to say. He looked in the old man’s eyes, but he couldn’t see any sadness in them. He just seen hope.

A noise came from the door that swung opened and they both looked at it with excitement. She finally arrived.

 

 

 

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The Fighter

He realized a long time ago that life isn’t always ending up as planned. “You have to be happy with what you have” his father would say. That of course if he would have been around when he grew up. He didn’t choose to be where he is today but it didn’t matter now anyway, did it? He had to go ahead with it.

The room was awkwardly quite. A large room where 100 people could easily fit in. He was all alone, however. He sat in complete silence, his rush breath was the only sound that left a noise. Silence…the total opposite of what was going on in his head. 

All kind of thoughts racing fast…memories, things he should remember, small victories, movements of the past, nonsense that didn’t matter…most of all, didn’t matter now. He had other things to think of.

Among all of them, something was creeping up his throat, like a shadow that he couldn’t get rid of. It was fear. 

“Fear is for the smart ones. Fear keeps you alive” his father would say. That of course, if he would have been around when he grew up.

He was not, though. But from all their imaginary conversations this was the best thing they didn’t talk about: “Fear keeps you alive”. Maybe he came up with it because he was always afraid. Not vulnerable…he was never vulnerable, he couldn’t be, but fear was always by his side. Fear of defeat, fear of drowning in mediocrity, fear of not being the king of his world anymore.

He heard a door opening and noise flooding in the hallway. The door shut and the noise disappeared again but now he could hear footsteps rapidly approaching.

A knock in the door and it swung open.

“Ready?” the intruder asked

“Does it matter??”

“I guess it doesn’t.”
He rose from the table that was hosting his ass and started walking. Out of the door, into the narrow hallway. He starred stupidly at a lightbulb that was flickering. “Flickers as my heart” he though and passed under it.

The intruder went a few steps ahead and widely opened the thick door that was connecting his peace from earlier from the chaos that was about to start.

The arena was sold out tonight and the noise of the crowd nearly made his head spin. People everywhere. Starring. Screaming. Shouting in anticipation. Wanting to see what they came for. 

He walked alone through the narrow sidewalk between the crowd.

Hands were wide spread for him to touch or shake, faces crying for a look of his, but he couldn’t touch or look at anyone…fear was controlling him. His eyes were fixed. His heart was exploding.

He stepped into the ring and fear became uncontrollable. It was inpowering him now, fear was giving him strength, fear was each breath he took, fear were his fists, fear was his essence. Fear could be seen in his opponent’s eyes.

“Fear keeps you alive. That of course, if you are not on the other side of the ring” his father would say.

  

Sub patura ta colorata cu o ciocolata calda in mana

Iti mai aduci aminte cand ajungeam in casa total infrigurati, tu fugeai repede sa pui laptele pentru ciocolata calda la incalzit si eu ma grabeam sa aprind indemanatic focul in semineu?

Odata calda, ciocolata o serveam sub patura ta colorata, intr-o liniste deplina, ascultand doar focul ca intr-un ritual nescris. Nu aveam nevoie sa spunem nimic pentru ca amandoi stiam, amandoi simteam.

Cum trec anii, doar amintirile astea marunte imi raman intiparite. Restul… se scurg cu o rapiditate care ma sperie, lasand doar locul altor amintiri mai proaspete care la randul lor vor fi uitate.

Nu mai simt demult nostalgie sau dor gandindu-ma la ele. In schimb insa, simt caldura ce o simteam in acea vreme, calmul care  uneori si acum ma gaseste.
Imi aduc aminte cu placere ca a fost o vreme cand nu ma interesa nimic altceva decat sa stau langa tine sub patura ta colorata, cu o ciocolata calda in mana, intr-o liniste deplina.

Dor imi e de liniste!

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We are both flower and leaves

‘What a marvelous disaster’ she said. ‘While we were running towards the sun we forgot to look around and breath the fresh air around us. We wanted to be free together and to know how flying feels like but instead of flying we found falling.’

‘Look at this’ he replied and pointed towards a large plant that was close to the bench where they were sitting. ‘Look at the leaves that are closer to the ground.’

‘What am I looking at?’ she said

‘You can see that those leaves are almost dried up, some completely fell of already.’

‘So?’

‘Now look a the top of the plant.’

‘A flower is blooming’ she remarked.

‘And the leaves close to it are green and look healthy. Maybe one day they will also be dry and maybe even fall completely off. All of the leaves have only one purpose though – to help the flower grow. To give her what she needs. To help her become wiser.
Some leaves will fall while others will become stronger and grow with the flower.’

‘Maybe we found falling towards the end’ he continued ‘but we also found happiness and warmth on the way and our hearts are just bigger now and ready for what’s coming next.’

‘We are both flower and leaves’ she said.

 

Painting

You’re just drunk

– What’s wrong with you?

– The world is changing.

– So?

– It will never be the same. We will never be the same.

– You’re just drunk.

– No. I can see it better than I ever did before. I might have been drunk each day of my life while I was sober.

– What will never be the same?

– Our lives. Our rhythm. Our beating. Our struggle. Everything is changing and we have to move with it or stay behind and dream of the days that are no more. Can’t you hear it reshaping?  Its corners, its sides, its perspectives, its people.

– I miss it.

– What do you miss?

– The person I got used to see in the mirror.

O lume sacadata

Probabil realitatea asta sacadata in care ne ducem traiul de zi cu zi, oamenii multi care ne-au distorsionat parerea si au distrus speranta ce ne-am pus-o in ei sau doar viata de care ne palim uneori ne transforma din oameni plini de incredere, in oameni fricosi care nu isi permit sa creada in altcineva decat in ei.

E un trist adevar ca ne e asa de greu sa prindem incredere, increderea si privirea care vede prima data bunul in omul pe care il vedem pentru prima data si nu indoieliile ce apar asa de des; cele despre ganduri ascunse, de intentii necunoscute, de preconceptii.

Nu imi place lumea in care nu exista incredere, lumea unde doar frica de a fi expus blocheaza gandirea, lumea in care cuvintele nerumegate sunt aruncate pe fata, de unde nu mai pot fi sterse sau luate inapoi. Lumea in care iubirea e transformata in frica, frica in neincredere, neincrederea in dispret, dispretul in ura.

As vrea o lume unde avem beneficiul de a fi vazuti ca persoane fara cusur, in care sa ne putem demonstra si arata cine suntem.
As vrea o lume unde judecata nu vine fara fapta, in care cuvantul e just si gandul prim e bun. As vrea o lume in care se vede, se gandeste, se analizeaza si dupa aceea se da verdictul. Nu in ordinea opusa.

As vrea o lume in care actiunile protagonistilor sunt judecate in locul faptelor inexistente, o lume in care toti vedem clar ce este si ce nu, o lume in care jumatatea noastra care crede in oameni, castiga mereu in fata celei care nu o face.

Lanterna Magicka