I stayed up until late and ended up looking at pictures taken in an amazing part of Helsinki.
The first thing that comes to my mind when I think about feeling free is that night in the Timisoara railway station. I had returned with Bogdan from a trip in the Balkans, and our connection to the Cluj train was some hours away. So we waited in a stationing wagon. Bogdan drew a portrait of me. I felt like he was a bit sad; but I also felt intimacy, as we just stayed there, some dim, yellow lights from the railway station covering the wagon. I remember that I wrote him a note telling him that I wanted to kiss him on his cheek, but I asked him to read it only later. We also played a sort of game - each had to write a line, then fold the paper, the other one would write another line- and so on, and eventually we'd have a sort of poem. But more than anything, there was the feeling that I could stay there forever, with him. At some point, I went to the bathroom. I got off that wagon and I noticed that the pavement had little squares, hundreds, maybe thousands of them. And I remembered this children’s game hopscotch (sotron), where you'd have this pattern. I jumped as if there was an imaginary sotron, and then I realized that there could be any pattern, any game invented. That you can create uncountable new games, with new patterns and new rules, or no rules at all. That there are so many possibilities, that life is infinite. Looking back, it felt like being on drugs, but I wasn't on drugs.
The second memory of feeling free is when I got to this beach in Finland last summer, not far from where I was living. It was very empty, and already past 10 pm, but the Airbnb host, an introvert Turkish girl, told me that this beach is fantastic to see the sunset. I found a huge meadow, with wildly colored flowers, fir trees, wooden cottages, the sea. I could see some people and a fire in the distance, but apart from them, it was totally empty. It was almost 11, and still bright. Euphoric is not a word enough for how I felt there. I don’t know if I’d seen before so much beauty, so unexpectedly, so wild, and so available at the same time. I didn’t have to climb rocks and walk 20 km. After an hour maybe I returned to the main road and bumped into that amazing meadow again. And I realized that I could run, not just walk and take pictures, but actually run in the grass. I felt happy happy happy like I haven’t been in a long time and free. It’s like I have forgotten about this person inside me that has a lot of energy and vitality, who wants to run and be happy.
As a kid, I would always run if my mom sent me to the store to buy something; for any kind of activity I would have to do, I’d run. but maybe I was just an anxious kid :)
In the morning, Bogdan and I finally took the train to Cluj. I think it was raining. It felt comfortable to be in a nice, warm wagon after staying up all night. There was some music playing, and one of the songs was Miruna from Pasarea Colibri. Bogdan told me that his mom liked this song, or that a boy was calling her Miruna.
Then we got off the train, walked through Cluj. We had a coffee in a Hungarian cafe. Bogdan drew something for me on the back of a card. It was a map of the Ohrid lake, and two people swimming towards each other. But they never meet, just get very close to each other. Bodies were sketched funnily. We looked a little bit like frogs, but you could tell which was the girl, and which was the boy. We had coffee with rum.
Then he walked me to the place where I could hitchhike to Zalau. He laughed and said something like: let me kiss you on the cheek. He had read the note that night, although I told him not to. Then I got in a car, and I turned to wave him, and he stayed behind. He waved back. We laughed. I laughed. And then I was struck by the idea that our trip was over and I would not see him again. For two weeks, I had kept that thought in check, and didn’t allow myself to be sad, or think about what would happen after the trip.
Last summer we met again after seven years. I had some work in Buzias, near Timisoara, and I gave him a call. I hitchhiked from Buzias to Timisoara, and we hadn’t decided very clearly where we’d meet in Timisoara because I don’t know the city. I told him that I’d maybe get a cab to the city center. But right when I entered the city, he called me. He had come by car and was waiting very close. I asked the driver to stop the car, crossed the street, and there was Bogdan.
I was nervous. I was fucking excited, even happy; particularly in those minutes between his phone call and me getting out of the car and crossing the street to meet him.
We drove to the city center, to Unirii square. It felt good to be in the same car with him. Bogdan told me that we had a Pljeskavica in the Unirii square in our trip (or that we just sat there) but I couldn’t remember. There was something about him that was still the same. I could recognize him-the big head, blue eyes, his fingers;
We had a drink, talked bullshit (some words to fill the moment), cause what else can you talk with a person you have no active relationship to, a person you only shared one thing with- but that thing happened to be the best trip of your life; and of course, it wasn't just a trip, just going from a place to another; it was a sense of adventure, intimacy. It felt free, and we felt very young. I remember humming that song from the Cure- Love Song- you make me feel like I am young again- as we were walking around the Ohrid lake.
Then he drove me to the train station. I had completely forgotten that it was the same station where we stayed for hours waiting for the Cluj train nine years ago, in the summer of 2007. I’ve remembered this just now, while writing.
We hugged and said goodbye. It was a real hug, better than the conversation. It was our real conversation in our short reencounter