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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“I am moving to Bucharest,” Maria told her.
Amanda didn’t seem to be surprised by her decision. Maria had become her friend from day one, ever since Amanda was employed at that company, specialized in translations. They were translating to Romanian all sort of official documents, and documents that were more or less complex, but also technical documentations for all sort of products imported by other companies. Amanda was always complaining, in her ironical way:
“Again, another crankshaft needs our skills as translators!”
Maria was always entertained by Amanda, by her way of being. Even when she was bored to death by a certain translation she was working on, Amanda could joke on behalf of her work. Of course, she was never careful not to be heard by others.
“One of these days, the boss is going to hear you,” Maria tried to temper her. “Or someone is going to tell on you…”
“So what? What is he going to do? No one could say I am not doing my job, on the contrary! Therefore I am entitled to comment for as long as I want to.”
“I think you are right, but I don’t know what others are saying. The bosses never liked people who protest, even if it is just sarcasm.”
“That is why they are bosses, in order not to like it. But that doesn’t mean that they are my bosses, no one owns me. I do what I am asked to do, anytime, I can translate from any language they want me to, but they cannot force me to enjoy it as well.”
“You don’t like it, do you?” she asked her one day, after finishing work, when they both went out for tea.
“Not at all. It kills even the dimmest trace of creativity I had left,” Amanda answered.
“Then why are you still here?”
“I don’t know. I think it’s the good money that keeps me here, God damn it.”
Because they were working for a German company, indeed their salary was a couple of times bigger than if they would have worked for a Romanian company.
“We have come to give up our dreams for a salary,” Amanda continued.
“And I feel like a robot, a well-paid one that is true,” Maria smiled, “but still, nothing but a robot.”
“I think we should do something about it,” said Amanda. “If we are not happy with what we are doing, why should we continue doing it?”
So she wasn’t at all surprised when Maria told her she was moving to Bucharest. She was sad that another one of her friends was leaving, but at least this time she wasn’t leaving that far.
“I will miss you,” she told her. “But I am very happy for you!”
She remained thinking for a while.
“You know what? I think I am going too.”
“To Bucharest?” Maria got very happy.
“Not that far, no. But from the company! For a while now I’ve been thinking that I should start something on my own. Now that you are also leaving, there is no more reason to stay…”
“I wouldn’t want you to rush into a decision,” Maria told her, because of me. “Did you think it through?”
“Don’t worry it’s not because of you. It is due to you! I only needed an impulse, not more than that, and now it came!”
“Then I cannot be anything but happy for you!”
“Did you consider what you are going to do?”
“Translations,” Amanda laughed.
Maria laughed as well. But she was waiting to get a more serious answer about what she intended to do.
“I will start translating books, mainly literature.”
“Great! That is more like it. And because you are very talented, I’ve noticed, you will be a great translator. Not to mention how many languages you know…”
“Well those are my thoughts exactly. It’s a pity to translate this stuff, useful, no doubt about it, for those who use it, but still, for me it is too much. There are so many good literature books, so many novels and so much poetry, not yet translated into Romanian.”
“That is true! And know, that there are so many publishing houses; I am convinced you are going to find an offers very easily.”
“Anyway what I like most is freedom. I will take my laptop with me and I will be able to go anywhere. I won’t be tied up to an office, eight hours per day.”
“You are right, I’m almost tempted. But I am not as brave as you are. Moreover, I’ve always wanted to move to Bucharest. I know you don’t like it, I can see you pulling faces only for hearing its name, but I will feel at home there. Then there is the fact that, she added like it were trivia, I met a girl…”
“Good for you! Great!” cried Amanda. “When? Where?”
“Last month, during our meeting in Bran.”
“Ahh, which I missed. That is why I didn’t know a thing.”
“Yes, anyway, we snuck into my room, that is why no one knew anything about it.”
“You can still keep it a secret, hmm?”
“Well, yes. Here I have to. But, in Bucharest it’s no longer necessary, Cezara, that is her name, told me they have a very solid group. I went to visit her last weekend, and I am convinced. We’ve been to a few clubs… You cannot even imagine how free I felt, not having to hide anymore!”
“I am so happy for you. Finally you will get rid of that weight that was loading your beautiful shoulders. I envy Cezara, you know that if I weren’t married I would have hit on you?” Amanda joked.
“I know, I know, you are not in your right mind. But,” Maria pushed it, “now that you are separated for your husband, let me know in advance, for me not to make any plans with Bucharest.”
“Never mind, you are not too sane either,” Amanda laughed.
“You are my dearest friend, you know that,” Maria answered, “and although I am leaving, the capital city is only two hours away. You are welcome anytime!”
“Thank you. I will come visit, you can count on it. I need to make sure this girl is serious about you…”
“You are always going to protect me, aren’t you?”
“How else could it be?” said Amanda decisive.
“That is the spirit,” Maria smiled at her.
“And now that I can, I will pack my job and come see you. In fact, that really is a good idea, maybe I’ll make a tour of the publishing houses, after all, it is there where all the games are made.”
“See, it is perfect for you.”
“When are you leaving? Come on, what are you waiting for?” Amanda laughed. “I need you there!”
Maria burst into laughter as well. She already knew that she wasn’t going to lose her best friend if she were to leave, but now she was convinced.
“That is great! I am happy. Let’s drink something for our future!”
“Yes, let’s go to a bar. I assume that not where you met that waitress, what was her name? That didn’t go too well…”
“Mirela. It was alright for a while, but it passed. We weren’t a match, but at least she helped me to get out of trouble. And her biggest merit,” said Maria, “was that she made me confess everything to you then. I wanted to do it for a long time, but I didn’t know how and when.”
“The right moment,” Ana paraphrased a saying, “does not come when you prepare it, it comes random.”
“Anyway, things between have ended for a long time. But, the answer is indeed no, we better go to a different place. Let’s go somewhere on Republicii Street,” Maria proposed.
“Yes, we will chose when we get there where to go in. After all there are so many beautiful places!”
“That is right.”
“Let’s go then.”
“And tomorrow,” Maria proposed, “we will hand in our resignations.”
“Very well! We have something like fifteen days notice, if I remember correctly, don’t we?”
“We will survive that much.”
“Of course we will! As we did for so long, two weeks will be piece of cake.”
The two friends started arm in arm towards Republicii Street, which was ten minutes walking distance from where they were.
The bars and restaurants offer on Republicii was vast; therefore the girls had a variety of options to choose from. They wanted something more quiet, to be able to talk.
“Let’s have something to eat as well,” Maria proposed.
“Yes, since we’re here, let’s do it right.”
“That’s the spirit; it will be our night, just ours.”
“You promise? That you will not try to fix me up with some guy again?”
“I swear,” and Maria took her hand to her heart solemnly.
“Then it’s alright.”
“But if I see anyone that is cute, can I at least show it to you?”
“No! You cannot.”
“Maybe just a sign with my head?”
“Not even that!”
“A blink of the eye?”
“A spasm of the mouth?”
“Do you have more of these?”
“A turn of the shoulder?”
“Please help me God!”
“Alright, I’m done. A kick in the butt!”
Amanda couldn’t help it anymore. Maria was the only one that could exceed here when it came to talking nonsense.
“I will miss this,” she said.
“Me too! But you know what I found out?”
“They have invented these small things, they call them devices. Listen up;” she said smiling and taking her smartphone out of her bag. “If you press on my name, on this colored glass, you can both see me and hear me.”
“Wow,” Amanda played along. “It’s a miracle.”
“Yes, it is witchcraft. Back in the days you could have been burned alive for this sort of invocations, but now they are allowed.”
“Great,” Amanda laughed. “Then let us use them as well.”
“Yes, this way we won’t feel being apart from one another.”
They entered a small restaurant laughing. It was a place where intimacy was respected by everybody, be it customers or waiters. One of the former would lead you to a booth with a table, then it would hand you the menus and he would say:
“When you need me, press that yellow button.”
It was the same system like on planes, to call the flight attendant.
“Very ingenious,” said Amanda.
“I like it,” Maria said as well.
“I didn’t even know about this place, I’m happy we found it.”
“We were lucky straight from the beginning. Maybe it was the name that made us chose it.”
“Let’s see if it passes the test of food,” said Amanda opening the menu.
Maria opened as well the menu she had in front of her, but she jumped straight to the drinks.
“I want something good for starters,” she said to Amanda.
“You are right, let’s see.”
She turned the pages until:
“Non-alcoholic cocktails,” she said out loud. “Some other time! Alright, here.”
She studied carefully the pages with the drinks.
“What did you decide?” she asked Maria.
“I think I will have a Gin tonic,” she answered.
“And I think I’ll jump straight to sex. On the beach!” Amanda smiled. “At least I can get that much,” she continued just as funny.
“Excellent decision. Let’s see how this thing works.”
Maria pressed the button which led up. A few seconds later the waiter arrived. He turned off the little light while asking what they wanted to have. The girls ordered.
“I like it here,” cried Amanda.
“Me to, I must admit, I am pleasantly surprised. When did this place open? How come we didn’t know about it?”
“Because we were in the office all day long, working like robots, and in the evening we were no longer in the mood to go out?”
“That is right, that work made us like this. It’s a good thing we got rid of it.”
“Who likes it should do it, it’s not for us!”
The waiter arrived with the drinks.
“Enjoy,” he said to them.
“Good luck!” Amanda wished her.
“To you too! May you be a famous translator! May publishing houses fight over you!”
“And to you, good luck with your lover, Cezara. Thank her from my part, for taking care of you!”
“You will have a chance to say it to her in person, soon,” Maria added, before taking a first sip from her gin and tonic.
“It is very good,” Amanda said about her drink.
“And this is a good quality gin,” Maria added.
“I am happy that we can spend this important evening together, in such a fancy place.”
“So am I.”
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