Struggle. Love. Cry. Hope.
For Romanian click here.
A novel first published in Romanian (Eikon 2017), available in English (translated by Mihaela Alecu) on Amazon (click on the image).
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She liked Boylston St. the most, where she could see how Trinity Episcopal Church was reflected in the other tall glass building next to it. She took a few photographs.
“It’s so beautiful,” Azade cried. “I will send it to my folks and to Ana.”
“Who is Ana?”
“Ana,” she answered, “is my best friend from Zürich. In fact from everywhere and always!”
“I’m happy for you that you have such a friend.”
“Yes, she’s an extraordinary girl. I will introduce you to her, if I will get her to come visit.”
“Great,” said Bryan.
“What is that building?” asked Azade, pointing to the opposite side of the green area.
“That, well, you will love it, is the Boston Public Library.”
“It’s beautiful; it reminds me of Zentralbibliothek in Zürich. A magnificent library, as I had never seen before coming to Zürich. I borrowed countless books from there, and I spent a lot of hours in that library, almost as much as in our medical library. You know, I really enjoy reading.”
“Yes, I thought so, I didn’t have even the smallest doubt! What do you read most or what do you enjoy most, besides the school curricula?”
“All sorts of books. Literature too, but also Philosophy, or other sciences. I like finding out new stuff all the time… My curiosity is immense…”
“What is your favorite novel?” he asked her as they approached the library’s building.
The building dominated the space, although there were taller buildings. Its imposing arches gave it a grandiose look, without making it ostentatious.
“Aaa, I don’t know, I like a lot. Borges, in particular. And the novel about human nature written by –”
“But now I like what it says on the frontispiece,” said Azade pointing to the library, then she read out loud: ‘The public library of the city of Boston built by the people and dedicated to the advancement of learning!’ Wonderful! Azade cried. Absolutely wonderful! Why don’t all people on Earth do this?”
“That is a good question and, unfortunately, unanswerable…”
“Yes, it’s really a shame. Well, let’s keep going. A.D. MDCCCLXXXVIII.” She calculated: “one thousand eight hundred eighty eight.”
“Indeed. However, it is interesting that the library, I mean the actual building, was opened in 1895. Initially there was a smaller building, already build since 1854, which proved to be scanty. And the most important fact is that BPL was the first large free municipal library in the States.”
“Wow, excellent, I’m proud to be here!”
“Me too. Of course, I’m also proud of Free Library of Philadelphia, which was also started at the end of the XIX-th century, and then, in 1927 it was moved to the huge building where it is now.”
“This is what I like here, and in Europe as well: the wonderful public libraries, which contain so many and so many important books. It would hurt to know that all these could disappear one day.”
“I don’t mean to upset you, but a long time from now, when the Sun will be a supernova –”
“Eh, never mind what will happen in a billion years. I was talking about the present, and about the damage some are willing to cause, without considering the huge losses they cause. I don’t understand why people destroy, instead of trying, each in its own way, to make the world a better place. Anyway, until your supernova, I think the earthlings will already be leaving on other planets, and I am convinced that they will take the books with them, probably in a different form, but anyway, they won’t leave behind anything of this heritage, probably our most important heritage.”
“I like you,” said Bryan. “The way you think, I mean.”
“Thanks”, replied the young woman, modestly. “Now, where to?”
“To Prudential Tower.”
“Something interesting, I suppose.”
“Well, yes, we will climb to the top, where the Skywalk Observatory is. There we will see the entire Boston from up above, because we have a 360 degree panorama.”
“I like it,” cried Azade, clapping her hands like a child in front of Santa Claus.
“I’m glad. If you like seeing cities from above, we should go sometime to New York, to see it from up above, from the Empire State Building. Of course, we’ll also visit it at ground level –”
“Great idea! I’ll definitely sign in for a visit to New York.”
Talking, the two got to the lobby of the Prudential building. Bryan bought two tickets.
“Please,” said Azade, “let me pay the entrance fee. You paid for breakfast.”
“I don’t want to hear about it,” said Bryan. “I want you to owe me, so that you will pay in New York, where it’s more expensive.”
Bryan laughed, but Azade took it seriously.
“Then it’s settled. It’s a deal!”
While the elevator was headed towards the 50th floor the two were shaking their hands like to war comrades, which are counting on each other, because there is nobody else there.
They took two audio-guides. The big windows opened to a view as extended as the eye could see.
“Aaa, there’s the Library. And the building that reflects that church. Too bad it’s so tall… Is it taller than the Prudential?”
“Yes, the other tower is taller. You could visit it before, but ever since 9/11 it was shut down. Now only the Prudential is left.”
“Eh, actually, there’s no problem, other than that you can see very well. It’s really quite spectacular.”
“Indeed. Look, there, beyond Charles River, it the MIT,” indicated Bryan.
“And where is our campus?”
“It is on the other side, I’ll show you when we get there.”
Azade was taking photos and she was happy every time she saw something interesting. And she always did.
“Look, a plane landing,” she said.
“Yes, there is the airport,” Bryan answered.
“Look what a beautiful roof that building has,” she cried.
“Yes, it is interesting,” he answered.
“Look what a beautiful neighborhood down there,” she pointed downwards.
“Ally McBeal used to walk there.”
“Didn’t you see the series?”
“I don’t think so… I didn’t really get the chance to watch TV…”
“Aha. Well, it’s one of my favorite show, very funny! Maybe, sometime, we’ll have time to walk there.”
“Yes, it would be great.”
They got to a room, a small hall where chests and objects pertaining to immigrants form passed times were preserved. On one wall, there was a painting and a mirror. The painting depicted a chic Italian, elegantly dressed, wearing a bow and a thin moustache. Azade looked at it intrigued when it moved and started talking. Not long afterwards, an Irish man appeared in the mirror, dressed like a worker, with a small cap on his head. The two carried a conversation that amused Azade a lot; she was watching them with a large smile on her face.
“What a great idea,” she said.
“Thank God for technology,” replied Bryan.
The two young people continued their tour. On the other side, they stopped for a longer period of time next to a window from where Bryan showed her the campus. Azade was pleasantly surprised of everything she saw.
She was glancing every once and again at Bryan. He was a charming young man, his friendly and open way made him be to everyone’s liking. Modesty made him stay away from vaunt, and Azade appreciated it.
“I don’t even know how to thank you for this wonderful tour,” Azade told him when they were descending in the end. “You were a remarkable guide, a true professional.”
“That is because I enjoyed doing it,” he said. “It was a wonderful day. I hope you’ll give me the chance to show you the wonders of this town again.”
“And I will show you New York,” Azade joked.
“Right, we have a deal after all!”
“Are you tired? Should I walk you home?”
“I’m not that tired, but all right. Let’s take a walk ‘home’.”
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