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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Amanda was waving from far away, she was extremely happy. After a long time, she could finally see her again. Ana was very happy as well.
“Welcome to Zürich,” she welcomed her, kissing her on both cheeks.
Amanda took her in her arms, squeezing her strongly, shouting for joy, lifting her from the ground for a few centimeters. Ana was just one centimeter or two shorter than Amanda, but clearly she was still feebler. Amanda was in good shape, she hadn’t gain any weight since Ana last saw her.
“You look so good!” cried Ana.
“You haven’t changed at all,” answered Amanda.
“Neither have you!”
“Eh, I got older, but you! You are still a child!”
Ana laughed. She took her arm, helping her with her hand luggage, while Amanda was pulling the other trolley after her.
“How was the flight? Are you tired?”
“It was very good. It took less than going from Brașov to Bucharest–”
“Same traffic problems?” Ana interrupted her.
“Oh, yes! And today all those from Bucharest were coming back from the mountain; I don’t know why so early in the morning, I was hoping they would go later in the afternoon and that the road would be freer, but no chance! On the contrary.”
“They probably thought as well that there will be more leaving later, so they decided to go in the morning.”
“It looks like there were a lot those who thought of that, because from Predeal to Bușteni we walked in a very tight row. Awful. I was afraid I was going to miss the plane… I was lucky to catch up after we passed the mountains.”
“Ouch, of all things, losing the plane!”
“Yes, having to depend on others,” laughed Amanda, making an ugly face.
“I am so happy you are here,” Ana told her one more time.
“Imagine how happy I am! I can finally see these places that bewitched you not to come home anymore.”
“You will see, you will agree with me.”
“We will see,” Amanda wasn’t easily convinced. “For me, as you know very well, it is not that easy!”
“Yes, I know,” laughed Ana. “You are still stubborn, aren’t you?”
“Even more so. You cannot even imagine,” Amanda laughed.
Ana had already bought the tickets for the train that in a few minutes got to Zürich HB.
“The train,” said Amanda, “was okay.”
“Okay? We wish we had such comfortable trains in Romania, to go at least half as fast as these.”
“Eh, but who is going by train in Romania? That is a car country!”
“Well yes, and the bigger and stronger the better. What difference does it make that gas is more expensive than here?”
“You see? Those are good living conditions,” Amanda continued ironically.
They took the tram from the railway station.
“What do you think of this one?”
“This one I like, I must admit. Ever since they eliminated the tram from Brașov, I cannot even remember when! I don’t think I have ever went by tram anywhere… Yes, that is true.”
“Oho, here it is very often used. Probably because it goes swimming, you know, Swiss precision, or maybe it goes like that because there are so many people using it?”
“Both, probably. They are interlinked. But, do you remember, we used to take the tram as well, and it was always full. I wonder why they eliminated it. They could have modernized it, if we would have have now a tram like this one here, we would have rocked. Even more so, if they were to make a route up to the Poiana, can you imagine how successful it would have been?”
“Just wait to see where I am taking you. Not by tram, it’s true, but by train. You are not going to believe where we will climb.”
“Tell me, tell me,” Amanda cried like a baby.
“No, it is a surprise.”
“You know I don’t like surprises, the suspense is killing me.”
“You will like this one!” Ana tried to convince her.
“But I will like it just as much if you will tell me, it is waiting that drives me crazy, not the actual surprise.”
“Alright. I will tell you. We are going to the mountain!”
Amanda pretended to sulk, and folded her arms on her chest.
“What?” smiled Ana. “Why? I told you, didn’t I?”
“You are a little malice; Amanda smiled and pinched her thigh.
“You really haven’t changed at all. Ana told her one more time.
“I wasn’t supposed to,” answered Amanda. “I liked myself as I was so I figured I should stay that way.”
“God, I am so happy you came!”
“What took you so long to invite me?” Amanda teased her.
“Yeah, I don’t know what I was thinking,” joked Ana.
“What could you be thinking? Medicine that is all.”
“Hi, hi,” Ana giggled. “You know you are right.”
“When is your colleague coming back, what did you say her name was, Azada?”
“Azade, come on, stop pretending. I know you are jealous, but you shouldn’t be. She will be here in four days, so you will get to meet her when we are coming back from… aaah, the mountain.”
“I can’t wait! I know she is a great girl, I wonder if she is perfect.” Amanda didn’t give up.
“Who is a little malice?”
“You! I am a big malice!”
The girls laughed, then Ana told her that the Bellevue station was next, where they had to get off.
“We are changing trams here,” said Ana. “We are taking T9. Look,” she indicated to the electrical panel, “it arrives in two minutes. Adjust your watch.”
“What?” Amanda looked at her watch. “I have already set it one hour…”
Ana looked at her ironically.
“Aaa, I know what you mean … God, you have become a real German.”
“Swiss German,” Ana laughed.
“Two times as stressed,” laughed Amanda.
The two friends couldn’t stop laughing at Amanda’s joke that only they could understand. They didn’t like it that some persons, a bit older, they were looking at them frowning a little, on the other hand, the young people around were amused by their laughter and watched them with empathy.
After a short trip by tram, the girls entered Ana’s home.
“Willkommen!” she said.
Amanda answered her in German, therefore Ana continued to present her the house in that language. For them it was like a native language. The garden and the terrace, all dressed in glass was what Amanda liked most.
“If you would let me, I would sleep here,” she said.
“Where? On the armchair?”
“Why not? It is quite comfortable,” said Amanda plunking and splurging in the armchair.
Ana sat on the other one.
“We can even put them one next to the other, and we get a bed.”
“Are you serious? But I won’t let you, no, no. You will sleep with me, I want to hear you little voice before going to bed, talking nonsense, and I will tell you, like back in the days: Amanda, go to sleep!”
“We have school tomorrow!” she imitated Ana’s voice.
They were laughing and they were happy.
“Oh my God, I am such a terrible host! Do you need anything? Something to drink? Are you hungry? Maybe you want to take a bath, a shower?”
“Time out,” Amanda made a sign with her hands. “Sit here and relax for a moment, if you are not going to let me sleep, at least let’s stay still for a moment. Afterwards, yes, I would like to take a shower, to get rid of the dust gathered from three, no actually four, means of transport: car, plane, train, and tram!”
“We are so lucky to have them,” said Ana. “This morning you were at your house, not it’s not even six o’clock and we are at my house.”
“Remember this the next time when you will consider that it too much for you to come home as well…” Amanda gently scolded her.
“There isn’t much left for me there,” answered rather sadly Ana.
“You are still thinking about him?” Amanda asked her.
“Sometimes. But, anyway, less and less.”
“That is good! That is the spirit. And, you didn’t find anyone here to–”
“Don’t you dare start with all your nonsense!”
“Toooo,” Amanda insisted, “to fill the void in your heart?”
Ana breathed relaxed.
“Or at least the other void?!” she continued in a different turn.
Ana jumped to get her, Amanda screamed and started running, escaping into the garden. She hid behind a tree, surrounding its big, thick trunk with Ana chasing her.
“I will get you,” she shouted, with her mouth stretched to her ears.
“There is no point,” Amanda answered in the same manner. “You don’t stand a chance.”
Eventually Ana gave up, and she headed towards the door. Amanda came and grabbed her by the shoulders, lovingly.
“Never mind,” she said, it is going to be alright! “You will find your soul mate.”
“It’s just that I’m not looking,” said Ana. “I don’t have time for that…”
“Eh, you will make time. If not, time will come after you. Somehow you have to, because Prince Charming won’t come riding to you, dear Princess. You have to meet him half way, or at least to go to the prom, disguised as Cinderella.”
“I know, it just occurred to me.”
“Maybe you should become a writer, in fact, I keep telling you that, but all for nothing.”
“You never know,” Amanda answered mysteriously.
“Really, you’ve started writing something?”
“No,” Amanda laughed, “but maybe one day, who knows…”
“Oh, you made me hope in vain.”
“Who would ever read something I wrote? Can you imagine the nonsense I would write?”
“I would read. Although it would be nonsense, but I don’t think so!”
“Thank you. And before you make me cry, you should better give me a glass of water, then I will go take a shower. Afterwards, we will go out, like girls!”
“Hear her; she forgets she is a married woman. By the way, I forgot to ask you, how is Ioan, your beloved husband?”
“My artist? He is fooling around in Paris this week.”
“Good for him! I am happy he is so successful.”
“He is, that is why I only get to see him two or three times a month…”
“That is not good.”
“Believe me, it really isn’t. Except for those days when we meet again, and we miss each other so much that we end up devouring each other. Probably if we were to spend all time together it wouldn’t be so intense, therefore there’s something good in everything that is evil… I don’t even remember when the last time we did it properly was, our hands and lips are always too loaded with desire–”
“You really don’t have to share every detail,” Ana interrupted her.
“Why not? Back in the days I used to tell you everything!”
“We were teenagers, it was normal to share ‘everything’, Ana imitated her. Now there is no need.”
“Alright, alright. You really did caught the stiffness.”
“What?” Ana laughed.
“I mean you became still like these people here. Like those Germans from Poiana, do you remember them?”
“No! Which ones?”
“You don’t remember? Maybe it wasn’t you… Anyway, it doesn’t matter, think about Germans in general.”
“I don’t think they are really like that…”
“But they aren’t as relaxed as the Latinos,” Amanda added.
“If by that you mean sloppy, then, indeed, they aren’t. These Germanic people are first in top when it comes to order. That is why,” added Ana, “I like it so much here.”
“I couldn’t say a little order isn’t good, but I like to have a little more passion in my life, I like it a bit spicier. If everything is programmed like a clock, you know, where’s the magic in that? I wonder if they program when to make love as well.”
Amanda began to play theatre:
“Honey, I know you have an erection, but we still have five more minutes before we start. Please stick to the schedule!”
She couldn’t go on because she was holding her sides with laughter. Because of her joke and because of Ana’s face, who was nodding negatively.
“I am going to take a shower,” Amanda got to say.
“You are not normal!” Ana shouted at her, before she got to close the door.
She started preparing something to eat, while Amanda was taking a shower.
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