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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There was a big fuss in Piața Sfatului. A stage was being built, chairs were brought, and there was a lot of hustle and bustle and noise.
“What is going on here?” asked Ana, unhappy with all the commotion.
“I have no idea,” Amanda answered.
“Aaa,” said Mircea. “Now I get it! They are getting ready for Cerb. It will be reinitiated this year. Again…”
“Really?” asked Ioan.
“Really?” asked Ana as well.
“I didn’t know that,” said Amanda. “Hmm, it is interesting.”
“It was a shame for it to die so young,” he joked. “It was barely reborn…”
“Indeed!” said Ioan.
“Yes, Friday when we left school there was nothing here, we walked through here,” Mircea added.
“Well yes, we were all here Friday,” confirmed Ioan.
“We should better go to the statue.”
“Yes, I think it’s quieter there.”
Honterus High School is a stone’s throw from Piața Sfatului. One has to go towards the impressive Black Church, and behind it there are the high school’s buildings. In fact, not just the high school, because the school also has primary and secondary classes. Next to the church, facing the school, sits in state the statue the youngsters were talking about, that of Johannes Honterus. He is holding a book in his left hand, while with the left one he is pointing to the school with his index finger.
“I wonder what he is trying to say,” said Mircea, pointing to the statue’s right hand. “Did you ever ask yourself that? He just wants to show us the school, that’s it?”
“I think we should ask ourselves what the sculptor meant to communicate,” added Ana.
“Yes, of course, the sculptor,” quickly replied Mircea.
“I think,” started Amanda, “that it is more than the simple indication: ‘There’s the school I founded’ and so forth.”
She stopped. The others were waiting for her to continue. But Amanda was silent, mused.
“Yes?” Ana shook her lightly. “And?”
“Aha, and that is it,” she answered, then she continued rapidly. “He means to tell us how important the school is. I mean, look at his blunt, gloomy look. This man brought Reform to Brașov, he was a pastor here, in this church, so it would be impossible for this story not to have religious connotations.”
“Yes, I also have the impression that Honterus is looking beyond, through and over these buildings. However, he is not looking up, towards the sky, which is very interesting,” added Ana.
“Hmm, he reminds me of something else,” started Ioan, clearing his voice.
“There you have it, you say it dear,” Amanda said in a spoiled voice.
Ioan laughed, and then he continued:
“Last year I took a trip with my parents to Barcelona, and–”
“Wow,” Amanda interrupted him. “You’ve been to Barcelona and you didn’t tell me? You went there without me?”
“Well, it was last year…”
“Even if,” Amanda laughed. “Never mind, let’s leave the joke aside, you should better say what you meant to say.”
“So… famous there is Columbus’ statue. It’s true that it is much, much taller, I have no idea how tall, but it is situated on a huge column, on a pedestal with many other statues, with bas-reliefs. You have to climb a few stairs to get to the pedestal. Never mind. Columbus is similar; he holds his right hand lifted, and the index pointing to the sea. I don’t remember what’s in his other hand, maybe his navigator hat, or maybe also a book, I don’t know. But I will show you the pictures.”
“Now?” Mircea asked abruptly.
“Aaa, I don’t know if now. Yes, maybe now. But, actually, not quite now, let’s stay a while longer in the town center, then we’ll go to my place. What do you say?”
Ana and Amanda exchanged looks for a mere second, to make an agreement.
“I don’t think we’ll come today. It’s getting late,” said Ana for both of them.
“We’ll take a rain check…” Amanda added.
“Anyway it’s very interesting what you are saying about the statue,” Ana added. “Do you think it’s a coincidence, or that is just how they used to make statues back then?”
“Maybe just for those who had something to show,” said Mircea.
“That makes sense,” Ioan confirmed.
“We should find out who the sculptors were and when the statues were made. Then we could research further, to compare Columbus’ statue to that of Honter, or whatever his original name was.”
“Since you brought it up, there’s another resemblance. In Catalan, his name is Colomb, but in English it gets a Latin twist, and his statue is called ‘Monument of Columbus’.”
“Honterus, Columbus,” said Mircea maintaining a certain rhythm. “Columbus-Honterus.”
“Confucius,” added Ana.
“Paracelsus,” Amanda joined the game.
They were all watching Ioan. He was on the rack.
“Aaa, us, us… Jesus!” he cried.
The other three started laughing.
“Jesus doesn’t count,” said Mircea. It is not Latin. “That’s his name, man!”
“Plus,” added Ana, “if Ioana were here, she would say ‘Let’s not take God’s name in vain’.”
“You are picking on her again?” asked Amanda.
“No,” Ana replies. “I’m just joking.”
“It’s better that Ioana is not here, she would have gotten terribly upset.”
“Really?” asked Mircea. “Ioana, your colleague? Is she very serious about it? Seriously?”
“Oh, yeah, we’ve even had a little fight about it.”
“Let’s call it a lively discussion,” Amanda rectified. “Let’s not call it a fight; it makes it seem so serious”
“Okay. Agreed. A contradictory discussion…”
“And?” asked Mircea. “What was the subject, and what were the arguments? The conclusions?”
“Eh, never mind,” Ana backed up a little. “It was just a discussion…”
“It seems it was more than that,” said Ioan, “if you are avoiding the subject.”
“It’s not true,” Ana defended herself. “But I don’t want to bring up Ioana, if she’s not here, it’s not OK, it looks like gossip.”
Mircea looked at her admiringly. Besides being first in her class, and she had proved to be one of the most intelligent persons he knew, he hadn’t known anything else about this beautiful colleague. And now she proved to also have solid moral principles. He liked this girl more and more.
“Bravo!” he said. “I don’t like gossip either.”
“That is,” said Ioan facing him and laughing, “because you’re always its subject. Ha ha!”
The girls laughed as well. Mircea, not really.
“Hey, cut it off!”
His face’s sudden changed pushed them to laugh even more on his behalf. Ana tried with all her strength to hold it back, she didn’t want to upset him, now that she felt how much she liked the boy, but, the more she tried, the louder the laughter got, coming out from her lips still tingled by the prolonged kisses.
“I’m sorry,” she told him, with her eyes tearing from all the laughter.
“I don’t think it’s funny,” he added.
“I know,” she laughed.
Mircea turned his back at them. Ana gathered all the strength she knew she had, stopped laughing and kissed him so passionately, that if a director were to pass by he would have definitely hired her immediately to do the scene of the passionate kiss in his movie.
The fact that Ana was sincere in her gesture and feelings, made it all – not just seem – so real.
Mircea got over his grief and he abandoned himself to the sweetness that was blowing his mind and heightened all other senses. He felt that his heart was beating the rhythm of Ana’s heart, that his blood and hers was flowing like a unique one, like to springs that meet and are joined together to form an unique river. He felt every cell of his body fusing with every cell of her body. In the long kiss that seemed a glimpse, he no longer knew which was him and which was her. And, to speak the truth, he didn’t care.
“O my God, It is so beautiful!” Amanda cried with her eyes pointed at them.
Seeing them they couldn’t refrain either, therefore the two other youngsters started kissing as well. If the courtyard around Biserica Neagră wouldn’t have been empty, one might have thought, seeing them that it was a kissing contest. And one might have thought that there isn’t anything more beautiful in the world. Just two pairs of adolescents, falling in love.
 Cerbul de Aur, an annual international music festival organized in Brașov, one of the country’s main cities. It was first held in 1968, and then stopped in 1971. It was reinitiated in 1992, stopped again in 1997. The next editions were held in 2001-2005, 2008 and 2009.
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