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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They liked a lot the hotel in Times Square.
“You made the best choice!” exclaimed Bryan.
“We couldn’t have found a better place,” Azade agreed.
Parking wasn’t a problem either, it was near the hotel, and because they got there in the afternoon, a little past 5 p.m., there were a few free parking places, enough to find a convenient one without too much trouble.
The rooms, one next to the other, were on the building’s top floors, providing a wonderful view upon Times Square, Broadway and other surrounding streets.
“Do you want to take a shower, to rest a bit after the road?” Bryan asked her, after he helped her settle in her room.
“A short shower will do. But no more than that, we have no time to lose,” she said smiling happy.
“Good,” he said checking his watch. “Then is half past five alright? Or, should we make it a quarter to six, so that you get enough time? Anyway the show starts at eight and the theatre is at five minutes walking distance from here, so we have enough time for anything until then.”
“You are still not going to tell me what’s the show for which you bought tickets?”
“No, it’s a surprise. Anyway, you will see when we get there.”
“Okay, but you’ve considered the fact that I’ve seen Cats and that I don’t want to see it again?”
“Oh, my God,” Bryan joked, “you said you’ve seen it? I thought you said you want to see it…”
“Ha, ha, very funny.”
“It’s alright,” he continued, “I’ll change the tickets for Dogs.”
He laughed. Then serious:
“Then? The hour…”
“Let’s do this: I don’t feel tired, I think 15 minutes will be enough for us to freshen up,” she said. “Then, we’ll go out, wearing something casual to take a walk in Times Square. Afterwards we’ll come back to dress appropriately for the show. I wouldn’t want to walk through Times Square wearing my evening dress.”
“Right, what you are saying sounds good. Then half past five, twenty-five to six, I’ll come get you. Is that alright?”
Bryan left to his room. Azade unpacked, and she pulled out a few elegant dresses.
“I wonder what show it is?” she said to herself. “Whatever it is, I must wear something nice.”
She chose two dresses, one black and one red, she laid them on the bed, studying them.
“Hmm,” she said,” I’ll decide later,” then she went to the bathroom.
She took off her sport clothes, and was left naked, with her dark skin glowing in the artificial light of the bulbs and spots in the bathroom. She got into the shower, humming a song. After a few minutes she got out, she chose comfortable cotton underwear, some blue-jeans and a T-shirt with a Prince print.
“Purple rain, purple rain,” she sang, as she put the T-shirt on.
It was exactly thirty past five when Azade was ready, Bryan whom had also taken a short shower and had dressed just as casual, knocked slowly at her door, just a few moments later. Azade opened.
“I’m ready,” she said.
“Excellent,” he replied cheerful.
Azade took another look around the room, she had everything she needed on her, and so she locked the door and took Bryan’s arm.
“Let’s go, then, my friend!”
Bryan was thrilled to be accompanied by such a beauty, whom, he thought, if it’s so admired and turns all eyes while wearing casual clothes, one could only imagine how much she will be admired in an evening dress. They were waiting for the elevator, and Azade continued:
“Purple rain, purple rain…”
“You like Prince? I can see you are also wearing the right T-shirt.”
“I love this song, I don’t know any other,” she said with a large smile on her face, which revealed the chaplet that were her teeth.
They descended and they went outside. New York streets’ effervescence greeted them with open arms. The unstoppable hum of cars, hooters, passer-by’s voices, all surrounded Azade at once so that the young woman was on the verge of starting to dance according to the street’s music.
“I love it,” she cried. “Ah, I love it so much!”
She grabbed stronger to Bryan’s arm. He pointed with his head to a certain direction.
“Look. There’s the clock, the famous clock that strikes at midnight in the hearts of thousands and thousands of people who spend New Year’s Eve here, in Times Square…”
“Yes, I know it from the movies! I cannot even believe I am here! Ten years ago I couldn’t even imagine that I will visit New York, that I will be sitting in Times Square…”
“And that you will go see Cats,” Bryan added quickly.
Azade gave him a light slap over the shoulder.
“You are in trouble, mister!”
“Why?” Bryan simulated innocence. “What did I say?”
“Hear him, Cats!”
“Kittens?” he continued on the same tone.
“Maybe Lions,” she said, pointing her finger at a huge poster with The Lion King.
“Or maybe other animals,” Bryan continued, mysteriously.
“Oh, I can’t get anything from you. What should I promise you to shorten my pangs?” she asked him.
“Well, you could…” Bryan thought for a second, “no, in fact, there is nothing you can do, I am adamant!”
“What if I were to take you out for coffee, look, in this place here that looks so good?”
“Don’t blackmail me, you know I can’t say no to a good cup of coffee.”
“You remind me of my friend Ana, she had a mug brought from Romania, on which it said: ‘Coffee is better than sex’!”
“Ha,” he exclaimed, “not even I would dare to say such a thing. Your Ana must be quite a girl. Respect!”
“Oh, yes. If you take both of us together, you square us and you add a bit of magic dust, only then you will get close to what Ana is.”
“Talking like a true match maker! You are really making me curious. But,” he came back, “I don’t believe Ana can be more beautiful than you, I think there is no other woman more beautiful…”
“Cut it out,” she said. “It’s the coffee addict inside you talking. Admit it, you would say anything to get a free cup of coffee,” she joked.
Bryan smiled, but didn’t make any other comment; he decided to stop making jokes because he wanted her to know he was serious. Azade watched him, she understood, so she stopped talking also. She waited for Bryan to open the door for her, like the gentleman he was and to invite her in.
“But we won’t stay,” she said, “we’ll take them to go, and we’ll continue our walk, what do you think?”
“Your wish is my command,” he said.
“Let’s not overreact,” she said.
“No, no. It’s not an overreaction. It’s desire!”
Both took their cups made of special paper, filled with coffee and went out again.
“I cannot get enough of this view,” said Azade. “It’s like admiring a mountain landscape, or the Zürich Lake in the sun, covered cheerful seagulls and gently-sloping swans. I cannot believe that some buildings and many, many lights can give you this feeling.”
“You are born for this city,” said Bryan. “You are born to become an American…”
“Maybe. Yes, I like this city a lot, but I don’t know if I would like to live here, or just to visit it. I mean, like a tourist it’s obvious: I already adore it. But, to live here… Hmm, I don’t know if I could handle it…”
“Boston is smaller,” said Bryan. “Is it more to your liking? I definitely like it more!”
“That is why you moved there,” Azade answered tactful, beyond the subject. “But you didn’t say how Philadelphia is for you. You spoke, indeed, a bit about it, but I didn’t mention how you are feeling, what are your most intimate thoughts. For starters, let’s see which city do you prefer more? Philadelphia or Boston?”
“I like both,” said Bryan. “But now I prefer Boston, not just for the Faculty, but also, I mean, especially because I got to meet you!”
“I am happy I met you, too,” said Azade. “I don’t know what I would have done without you in a foreign place.”
“You would have probably found someone,” said Bryan a bit gloomy.
“Probably, but I definitely wouldn’t have got as close as with you. You are my type of person,” Azade said in a warm voice. “You are my masculine Ana from Boston!”
“Really? Wow, knowing how much you care about Ana, hearing you say something like that, means a lot to me.”
“Of course,” smiled Azade, “I’m serious.”
They were already walking in Tiles Square for a while, time goes by fast when you are with the right person in the right place. Bryan looked at his watch.
“I think is time to go back to the hotel, to start preparing for the night that is just starting.”
“Already?” Azade looked at him surprised. “Time goes by so fast. Come on, then, let’s go.”
They headed towards the hotel.
“I want to ask you something important,” said Azade, when they were in front of her room.
“Come,” she signaled him to enter.
On the bed towered the two dresses, both gorgeous.
“Which one do you think I should wear? Which would go best with the top secret show?”
“Normally, I would have chosen the red one,” he said. “But, given the theme of the musical, I would go with the black one. You cannot go wrong with such a dress!”
“I thought so,” said Azade happily.
“Of course, if you were to put it on now, to see how it fits you,” Bryan joked.
“Ha, ha,” Azade laughed. “Come on, run to your room now, we must get ready.”
“Alright,” Bryan laughed as well. “If you don’t need any help, maybe to zip you up.”
“It has no zipper!” Azade replied shortly.
“I’ll come get you at 20 to eight,” continued Bryan this time in a serious voice. “We need to get there in time, about ten minutes before it starts I think is enough.”
“All right, bye,” she delicately pushed him out.
She closed the door behind him, still smiling. She entered the bathroom, to get ready, before she put on the beautiful black dress. This time she chose a different type of underwear, black lace and black nylons. She pulled on her dress and she put a chainlet around her neck and a similar bracelet on her arm, both very delicate.
Azade was watching herself in the mirror, she turned around to watch herself from behind, from the side and she was satisfied.
“Ah,” she started talking to herself again, “I almost forgot.”
She took off her earrings and replaced them with a pair that matched the other two jewelries she had previously put on.
Azade was ready.
She opened the door for Bryan, who stood in the doorway dressed in a black tuxedo, a white shirt and a black bow tie.
“Wow,” she said before he got a chance to react. “What a handsome man!”
“Wow to you too,” replied Bryan. “You look wonderful!” he exclaimed.
“Thank you, so do you,” she answered.
“We make such a wonderful couple!” said Bryan.
“I am ready,” she said, closing the door.
“Let’s go, beautiful lady,” he said, offering her his arm.
“What show are we going to see?” she asked.
“Nice try,” he answered. “Patience, for just a while longer!”
“Oh,” the young woman smiled, “alright.”
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