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1989
prose [ ]

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by [mircealupu ]

2012-03-07  |     | 



I was just discharged from the army. It's the first day when I can wear civilian clothes. It is February 1989.
It's time to take a walk downtown. I want to pay a visit to a nice bookstore, Mihai Eminescu, which I patronized in high school. Last time when I entered a bookstore was just before enrolling into service, one year and a half ago.
I enter the bookstore and take a deep breath. I like the scent of the books, but I am completely puzzled; there are so many titles on the shelves covering so many subjects, in deep contrast with the simplicity I was used to in the army.
In front of me there is a pretty, slim brunette. She asks for a poetry booklet written by Ana Blandiana
I am in line just behind her and think she hasn't made a bad choice, so I ask for the same booklet.
I knew of course that Ana Blandiana was an opponent of the regime, but it was maybe the brunette's soft hair, and her voice that persuaded me to buy that booklet.
I went out of the bookstore and continued to enjoy my first day of freedom, looking at people, smiling, feeling, tasting the air.
In February night falls quickly. I eventually rushed to the bus station to go home. The streets were cold and empty and light was dim.
I realized that I've come back from the army only to fall into a pit where everything was in short supply, except for the freeze and the poverty.
I got on the bus and opened the booklet to forget the cold rather than to read something.
My eyes fell upon a few lines from a poem:
In winter, the branches write Japanese poems
With a black pencil
On the silky snow
I took a look through the window and saw long branches leaving a black shadow on the snow.
I was thrilled by the coincidence and continued to read more.
I figured the sad people she was talking about in her poem, brought to silence by all sort of fears...
The poem ended in a short sentence: "Today was some other time".
I remember now that after I had come home I read poems all that evening.
Over time I learned tens of poems by heart. It helped me much, especially when the power was cut off at home. They were cutting the power off on a daily basis to save money and entire districts were deprived of electricity every night, two or three hours. On those nights I was lying on the couch reciting the poems I had learned, waiting for the power to be restored. Then the revolution came over in December that year. I rode trucks to the television to defend it together with other young people, after another five years I graduated a college, then took a job with a joint-venture company.
Now I remember no poems but one.
It is the first poem I read sitting on the bench of the bus in that cold night of the year 1989.
In winter, the branches write Japanese poems
With a black pencil
On the silky snow
And it's February again. February 2012. And today was some other time.

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