Talking to God in
Many times in my
past I dreamed that maybe one day I would get a chance to sit with God, in his
white living room, on his white couch, among the white pillows, in front of the
flowing white drapes, and reminisce, have a good laugh while sipping some
heavenly red wine. In my daydreams we discussed the good old times, back then,
down there, on that little blue marble called Earth, and I would say to God...
I walked in through
the gate still lost in my thoughts. I casually headed for the well when I heard
some distant voices as if coming from another world. I looked in their
direction, and as if looking into a dream, I saw three magical beings. I
recognized one, Anita, but her two friends I had never seen before, yet all
three were just feet away. The silent strangeness of that day was vanquished
under the force of panic. I hesitated my next step and then came to a full stop
in the middle of the courtyard. I suddenly felt trapped between the girls, who
were sitting on porch steps, and the well. I felt an urgency to escape that
trap and run away, and I would have, had it not been for my overwhelming
thirst. A battle began brewing in me. I could feel their eyes penetrating into
my bones and my mind began its usual struggle until a voice interrupted my
strife. It was in Hungarian. It took me a moment before I realized one of girls
was talking to me. My fear demanded I run while at the same time a strange desire
kept me in place, but with anger. I couldn't understand why, but I suddenly
felt enraged. I heard the voice again and this time I understood what she said.
A strange feeling
interrupted my rambling thoughts. I mindlessly leaned forward past the sill,
and looked at the outer corner of the barn, and there, like a magical creature
formed out of the dusk itself… stood Erzsi. My eyes flinched unsure if she was
real or a mirage, but when she responded with a smile, in her mischievous
style, I knew she was real. I felt an urge to indulge in my friend fear, but I
was too far gone into the magic of dusk for that and ended up losing myself in
her eyes. Locked in each other’s gaze she slowly began gliding towards me. I
watched her stroll and then dance her way past me into the barn. I could tell
she started out the day in her Sunday best but as the day wore on, and the heat
got hot, her layers came off. She was wearing her little boots, a long skirt,
and a simple tunic with embroidered sleeves no longer than her forearms.
She had a playful
rhythm in her step. She hopped from her heels to her toes as she twirled around
the pile of corn, swinging her arms like a ballerina as she headed my way. I stayed
my spot, my arms crossed and leaning with my back against the post. As she got
close she looked at me with a smile so sweet, but so potent, it caused my
nerves to teeter. The power this girl had over me was incomprehensible. She was
magic. She was awesome. She was beyond words. I felt a need to hate her with all
my venom, but a mere glance into her eyes melted all that hate away. I no
longer cared what she had done in the past. All I wanted was to feel her soft
tender body next to mine the way I did back in that cart.
Cabbage and Polenta
I headed for the
house and casually strolled in. My father was at the table with a chunk of
smoked bacon in his left hand. With his right he was cutting little bites with
his pocket knife, trapping them between
his thumb and the back of the blade, and then bringing the freshly sliced
pieces to his mouth. With the same hand, he would then pick up his bread while
still holding the knife. Mircea was to his left, on the bench, doing the same.
My mother was by the stove stirring a pot of mămăligă, a type of
Romanian polenta. I stood in the doorway and watched them for a moment.
My father looked at
me but didn't say a word. My mother made some comment about sitting down to eat
but I wasn't listening. My attention was on my father, and he quickly noticed.
He stared back at me for a moment and then looked at my right hand. His eyes
then moved from the letter to me. I could read concern on his face and then a
moment of indecision. A second later he cut off another slice of bacon and
directed it to his mouth with his thumb and blade.
I wanted to move
from the spot but I was frozen. I wasn't sure what to do next. I looked to my
mother, but she was wrapped up stirring her mămăligă on the stove.
“Look at what your
son has done.” My father’s voice jolted me and I quickly looked back at him. He
was casually slicing into the smoked bacon while still chewing on the previous
“What did you do
Ciprian?” My mother’s voice jolted me back to her. She was awaiting an answer
with her expression, but then broke it when she moved the pot to the side of
the stove. The mămăligă was ready.
I raised my right
hand without saying a word. I expected my mother to yell when she saw what was
in it, and she did, but not at me, at my father. She snapped at him for letting
me read the letter. He snapped back, retorting that he had nothing to do with
it. My mother turned back to the stove, picked up a knife, a chunk of smoked
bacon, and began furiously cutting off bite size pieces using the same
technique as my father, but dropping them into a hot pan. They sizzled. I
looked away from the sizzle at my father. Then back at my mother. I had no idea
what to do. I was lost in the aromatic crackling of the bacon my mother was
stirring in the hot pan. I turned to the dresser on my right and swiftly placed
the letter back in its drawer. I looked back towards my mother. She was tossing
three fistfuls of freshly diced sauerkraut into the pan. The sizzling aroma
imbued the room as she stirred the sauerkraut in with the bacon.
I walked to the
table and sat opposite my father. My back was next to Dumitru’s bed. He was
peacefully snoring away. I looked at the little old lady as she agitatedly
stirred the sauerkraut and bacon. The room boomed in the sizzling symphony of
that aromatic dish. I realized I was very hungry. I looked at my father. He was
wrapped up in his bacon and bread.
I looked at both my
parents and I slipped out of time, or time slipped away from me. It was
probably just a minute, maybe two, but it felt like an eternity. Dumitru’s
sniffles and snores were now distant echoes, and then an eon later my mother snapped
me out of it when she approached with two bowls, one for me, and one for
Mircea. The bowls were full of steaming mămăligă with a blanket of
sautéed sauerkraut and bacon. She dropped them in front of us without a word.
On the table there was a bowl of sour cream. After Mircea, I scooped a spoonful
of cream and splotched it on top. I then indulged in the delightful dish.
“Did somebody say
dinner?” I heard Dumitru’s voice as he rose behind me. His comments were often
followed by laughter, since he had the uncanny ability to wake up exactly when
the food was served, but today the only response was heavy silence.
The Socialist Republic of Romania
I looked at the
stillness and knew something was wrong. I jumped out of my truck and headed
towards Gheorghe’s office but there was no one in it. I checked a couple of
other offices and that's when I heard a voice coming from behind the main
warehouse. I walked through and out the back. Everyone was assembled in an
almost military fashion, in a way I had never seen the workers at this
warehouse before. The next thing I noticed were the men in suits standing on a
truck platform, one of whom was speaking to the crowd. Behind them there were
several armed Romanian soldiers. As I got closer I noticed another man rush
from the platform holding in his hand what I thought was a tablet
with invoices or other documents. He was heading straight for me.
He didn't even come
to a stop before he called out my name and asked if I was in fact Ciprian
Indre. A bit perplexed I replied that indeed I was. At that point he came to a
stop but then turned around and asked me to follow. His spastic actions
betrayed his short fat round little body. He bounced, more so than run, on
his stumpy little legs as he hustled me up to the platform and next to the
crowd of men in suits.
What happened next
sent me into world of confusion beyond any measure. The portly little man
rushed to the speaker, interrupted him, and whispered something in his ear. The
speaker then looked my way and signaled me to approach. Clueless to what was
going on, I approached. I waited and listened as he continued his speech but
this time his words sent shockwaves through every cell of my being.
In his first
sentence he called me out as “the accomplice”, Gheorghe’s right hand man. He
said that I was the worst kind of criminal. Using the people’s tools, like the
capitalist pig that I was, to benefit only myself. He said that Gheorghe was
already on his way to prison, and after that speech I would follow, hence forth crimes
against the new Socialist Republic of Romania would not be tolerated.
I stood there too
confused to be afraid or even protest. The speech was short and over before I
could consider protesting thought. The next thing I remember is being manhandled by
the soldiers and dragged into Gheorghe’s office.
The Grassy Sea
I sat against my
Mercedes in the shade of that lonely tree and lost myself in the horizon. It
was hot, but a gentle breeze kept my feelings cool. I swelled my chest drinking
in that breeze and that's when I noticed the ripples on that grassy golden sea.
It was their sway. I stared and then lost myself in a moment of awe. Something... something about the way the
breeze caressed the tips of that grassy plain, the way it forced the whole lot into a
dance of whirling ripples like those on a pond, enraptured me. I watched as hills shuddered and
swayed like the hide of a living being. It was so familiar... but my thoughts
twirled with the grassy sea and I lost the feeling.
Then, after what
seemed like an eternity, I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. It
was someone... but he wasn't there, yet I could see him. In a different field. In
a different time. In a different world. I watched without awe, without
disbelief. I watched Ovi swing his scythe swathing down the grass with vigor. I
sat against my Mercedes and calmly watched Ovi dancing with his scythe in that
ancient sea of grass until I felt him drawing me into his rhythm. I was
slipping, but I didn't care. I could feel I was on a threshold being pulled
into another place, into another world, and for a moment I was lost between
worlds, but then I blinked, and when I opened my eyes I saw a clear image…