#1 – the lion roars


The gutter dripped and the rain drops rapped hard on the kitchen window. My eyes were already open. The bedsheets felt cold and damp. The shutters in the living room rattled with the wind gusts.  I’ve been staring at the dark ceiling for nearly three hours. I sat up. Sleep was busy somewhere else.

Another rotten night.

My mind was stuck in ruminating mode. There was no point in trying to sleep. Heavy rainstorm washed over the town. So thirsty… I tried to breathe. The merry-go-round in my head kept me replaying the last two weeks, pining me to decisions, yanking me back and forth between faces and screams and tears. Decisions that were not my wisest… 

Wasn’t enough. 

I thought of the woman with begging eyes. She came into the ER, during my shift. She had fever, and severe abdominal pain. I guessed her secret right away. Her deep ocean green eyes betrayed her, I could read in them. Everyone could…  That she had attempted  abortion. Bleeding and in pain, she got down on her knees and pleaded. Immediately I got her a bed, and called a trustworthy gynecologist I knew. I trusted him to keep his mouth shut. I trusted that a human life was more important to him than law.

I was wrong.

Nevertheless, I started her on antibiotics and enough painkillers. I refused to make a blood test. If it was positive, she’d go to jail. Maybe she would anyway… If she’d survive, that is… I had Rose, the head nurse, look after her.

I cannot just watch and wait for her to die, that’s what I told her, and that’s what I told the head medic.

He stopped all medication. That bigoted windbag stopped ALL of her medication and I got sent home for a month. Rose tried to calm me down, but by God – I… I.

The oxygen left the room. Two days ago, Rose called. The woman with the begging eyes died. My skin felt dry and hot, like a heat blanket over a snowman.

There was this nagging icy feeling wrenching my guts, that I just couldn’t shrug off. I could use some peace for once – some sleep, or unconsciousness. I could use some liquid peace… I thought of the empty liquor bottles lined up in the kitchen. Vodka was sometimes your only friend. It was a reliable friend. Brushing over my  burning face, my forehead was sticky with sweat.

The phone rang. The sinking feeling sank deeper.

I got up. The cold floor burned  under my soles. I went to the hallway to pick it up, but my hand hovered above it.

Important? Work? Catastrophe? Which is it?

I asked myself. It did nothing to buffer the leaden dread sitting on my chest.

I grabbed the phone. “‘llo?”

“Comrade Hoia?” The stern voice on the end of the line felt like a brick wall I was about to smack into.

“Yes,” I swallowed. ”Who is this?” The man didn’t answer. Statics filled my head. This was a catastrophe, I decided. I heard a pen scratch on paper.

“I’ve got a young man here, a Hungarian Jew. He says, he knows you, comrade.”

Benny… What have you done this time?

Was this police or worse? Securitate? “His name is Benjamin Ekes,” yawned the man.

“Yes.” I croaked. “I know him.” My throat was stinging, I couldn’t suppress a cough. I heard a faint echo of myself coughing. They were recording the call. Securitate it was. My heart knotted.

A big drink, I rubbed my lips, a whole bottle.

“Do you, comrade Hoia?” He paused amused. “Then come and pick him up. Police station.” The man hung up.

“On my way.” I said, listening to the disconnected tone in the line. With every heartbeat it grew louder and louder. I stood in the darkness.

Pull yourself together.

I needed to get going. Who knows what they did to Benny. I grabbed some clothes and spares for Benny, gauze and disinfectant. On a second thought, I called the ER at the polyclinic I work, and had Rose on the phone. At least, some silver lining. She understood immediately what was going on. She said, she’d  had the scrubs ready, if needed. God bless good old Rose, the smartest nurse I ever worked with.

Two minutes later I was on the deserted main road, heading downtown. The rain came down in curtains. My car seemed to be the only one in the whole wide world. I lit a cigarette, and thought of all the peaceful people who could actually sleep. In their beds.

Benny needed me.

And I? I needed a drink, and a month worth of sleep.


sensory deprivation

There am I.

Absent-mindedly sitting on a pillow, a glass of milk in my hand. “Cheers.” Yeah, talking to myself too. Not the best first impression, I guess.

Sitting on the ground, staring at the snow white wall in front of me. The carpet is white too, so is the door, and the window frame. In this room, everything is white – everything, but me.

But I do not look at myself. Never seeing myself. Which is, bluntly said, a quite a normal thing. I mean, who can?

But I see the blankness. Bone dry, lurking white army of shallow thoughts. Just drifting, drifting to sink and rise again. In the rhythm of my personal space-time, spent here. Only by myself. One breath after another, ticking away – never to return.

Sensory deprivation is something one should get used to, before trying to spend hours in such a place. Cause it’s a torture at first. Cause it’s boring. Deadly boring. Insanely boring.

But then, your brain starts to entertain itself with patches of color, music playing in your head – if you’re lucky, it’s music you like- patterns of geometric forms, weird thoughts popping up in your mind.

It’s entertainment… Nothing more.

IMG_0532Oriental turtle dove – Streptopelia orientalis

* * *

My favorite addiction is a peculiar hunger…

A hunger for new experiences, new fragrances, tastes and sounds. New optical and tactile impulses… New atmospheres to dip in and dive deep. Soaking up, what the world has to give. The new, the unknown, the strange – bring it on…

Better I rephrase that – my favorite addiction is the confrontation with the strangeness of the world. Meeting it head on.

For me, it is most relaxing to be thrown into a world I do not understand. – Literally. (Well, that might happen on a daily base anyway… because I do not understand the world around me

A language I do not speak, is music, heard for the first time. Opaque and mysterious.

And I love mysteries. I love music. Every kind… The melodious nobility of Japanese, the verbal courtship dance of Portuguese, the smooth sliding of English over rocks and facts (someone forced you into  the Seven-mile-Boots while you were sleeping), the soft marcels of  Italian, the sharp tugging and turning of German…

– It’s like a huge disco party you are not invited, but you sneak in anyway. Or you play Peeping-Tom over illusionary security cameras.

Does this make any sense? The worlds rockets away beside me, and my finger tips brush along, on its surface…

But it’s not only the language, it is the background noises. The way people cross the streets, the metro jingles, the barking of dogs, the birds in another sky. Differing from country  to country – they differ unbelievably. For example, the common raven laughs at you in Japan (Ha-Ha-Ha), but it crows (Kra-kra-kra) at you in Europe. Even the doves coo  in different ways.

You see, there is this fundamental feeling of difference. Of being unlike others around me- the feeling of profound isolation.

Although I know that it  is delusional, on an emotional level, it is my reality. No matter where I go, it keeps me company, therefore it must be originating in me. I’m the epicenter of this (maybe) individual drive.

Now that I think of it…

It thrills me to be looped out, to be clueless. – How irritating…

I observe. I (pretend to)  filter information, like the world is a black box, forcing my own thoughts into it, interpreting, reading notions and impulses…

– Maybe it’s just genuine ignorance…

The anatomy and pathophysiology of air roots. -A dissection.

I´ve got air roots.

 That´s an excuse. You know that, if you say you´ve got air roots.

Cheating yourself. This is nothing more than sugar coating the nagging feeling of being… a stray. 

You belong  nowhere. There is no one to belong to. No place you could truly call home. No place you could come home to. No one greeting you. No one saying ‘welcome’. You rest your head in a stranger land, stranger house, tolerated by strangers… 

Your life feels like a hotel room, and you´ve still got your bags unpacked. You are a transient hotel guest. Everything seems to leave the bitter-sour aftertaste of transiency and ephemerality.

You feel random. Random things keep happening. “Everything is replaceable.”

Compensability got under your skin. Every move you make, is a reminder. Futile efforts…

I guess this is why I´m looking so desperate for a meaning.