Prayer of the fugitives ALEXANDRA VASILE – ROMANIA

Roma HH 1 article

         Prayer of the fugitives                                             ALEXANDRA VASILE – ROMANIA

15th July 1984

The place I come from can be defined by its breathtaking landscapes and by the mountains, earth and rivers which hold in      their depths endless treasures.

The place I come from can be defined by a blooming industry and by a society which praises its leader with songs of glory and flowers.

But in the country I come from, people live in lies and fear and strict order. I am from Romania and I plan to escape this nightmare system… »

The door creaked open and, as quiet footsteps approached, my thoughts froze.

 

‘ Dan, what are you doing? I told you it’s dangerous to keep that diary!’

‘It’s alright, I’ll be careful.’

‘ I got the papers. We’ll be leaving soon’, my friend, Simion, said in a silent voice.

‘Are you sure about this? Where are the others? Is everything as planned?’, my words came out in a rush and my mind was boiling. Everything had to be right or else…

‘It’s all according to the plan. We’re taking the train to Severin tomorrow at 6:00. Don’t be late and until then…pray. It might help you relax.’

He patted me on the shoulder and left just as he came: silently. No unnecessary details or encouraging words. We both knew too well what was going to happen…or so we thought.

 

In the morning I left my house as it was, only taking some clothes and my precious diary. The sheer light veiled the dusty bookshelves, the photo frames and all my memories, good and bad, which tried to hold me back, following me like a nostalgic dream.

During the journey, I anxiously revised our objective countless times in my head: we were going to pass the border as health care assistants. The papers were proof for a health check. After that, a friend would give us shelter at a construction site where he worked. The next step would be studying the patrolling of the military along the river and in the end, taking the risk and crossing to the Serbian shore.

 

The plan took its course and owing to my friends’ initiative, we arrived safely at the construction site where we joined Mihai and Radu. The latter contributed with a tire, an item we would need to use to float on the water as none of us could swim.

The following days passed like weeks in the dim-lighted shed we had to share.

From sunrise to sunset we lived each other’s memories through the stories we would tell in order for the time to pass… I wrote some of them in my diary, I listened to some others with joy or with grief. At the time, nothing scared me more than the nightfall as we had to venture near the river.

 

‘Come on, Dan. It’s our turn tonight.’ Simion’s words took me by surprise.

 

We crept in the deadly silence, protected by the shadows, and watched the patrol, the military cars and the boats of the border guards. There were no words, no whispers, only short signals and dreadful tension. Simion took the lead and I followed his steps quietly, trusting him completely. In moments like that I prayed, I prayed for him, whose courage and calm I admired, knowing that without him I wouldn’t have had a chance to survive.

When we got back to the shed, my heart felt as relieved as clouds after rain. I laid my head on the folded jacket which seemed like the coziest pillow and as my eyes closed, the world stopped before me and I floated along with my dreams, the only place where I kept my sanity. I knew the most dangerous part was approaching and the thought of it made shivery lightning run down my spine, but there was no going back…

 

After four days we were prepared to escape. The moon was hiding behind the inky veil of the night clouds and numb obscurity filled our vision. Guided by the crisp breeze and the quiet echo of the splashing water, we crawled for about 200 meters. I could feel the humid air against my cold sweat-covered skin but still I was heading through the dusty earth, until, at last, I embraced the icy water. I dug my nails into the tire, clutching tight and rowed with my other hand. We all did the same. I put into it all my power, physical and psychical, and for a while my mind freed from the tension, until…

 

In the distance, the water started to flicker with a white light.

‘No, no, no! It can’t be!’ my thoughts screamed in panic.

Moving chaotically, the security light was inspecting the river with its deadly stare.

In my head there was a morbid chaos. If they discovered us, we would end up sliced in pieces by the boat propellers. The sands of time were running low for us.

With my eyes tightly shut, I did the only thing left to do. My lips whispered prayers in trembling breaths, my eyes were full of tears and I didn’t make a sound even though in my mind I called God screaming my heart out.

 

I didn’t know when to stop, I just prayed that I wouldn’t feel the cold gaze of the light on my back and I continued rowing. My senses were fading and I thought I was hearing my friends praying along with me in my head. Just somehow, in the blink of an eye, everything fell to silence. I opened my eyes terrified and the light was still roaming our surroundings, but in the distance there was something…the moon traced its shape with a shy ray of light.

‘It’s a miracle!’, I realized, relieved as I had seen a ship.

 

In the last moments, we hid behind the ship which seemed deserted. The passengers were asleep and we took the opportunity to change our wet clothes. I spent the night gazing at the sky in silent lucidity. We had finally passed the biggest risk.

After we had reached the shore, we managed to take the fast train from Trieste. My tiredness was cured by the soft seats and my tension by pouring my thoughts out into the diary. However, my hopes were once again shattered at the sight of the train controllers approaching. Their cold unceasing stares pierced through me. They knew. But then again, we were blessed as the two Serbians passed by us.

I hoped the struggle ended, and it did as from then on our lives flowed on the right course.

 

11th May 2015

The place I come from is defined by its breathtaking landscapes and by the mountains, earth and rivers which hold in their depths endless treasures.

The dread of the time I left my homeland still lingers, but it’s all veiled by the memory of my house with dusty bookshelves and old photo frames.

I have returned to Romania to live my last years in its revived beauty.

And now the place I come from is also defined by cities which are in continuing development and by a society which thrives through the people’s achievements and smiles.

« Why ?  » short story by Mustafa Mbaye

Why ?

Little Joe Murphy had recently become 9 years old. He celebrated it with a huge birthday party. All his friends came. Joe had lots of friends. He was a very happy and grateful boy with a wonderful family. He liked school unlike most of the kids of his age. He liked learning in school, because he had great teachers. Joe was happy about seeing his friends almost every day. Besides his many friends in school, Joe had a best friend called Ryan. On an ordinary day at school they planned a sleepover. They decided to sleep at Ryan’s house because Joe had never been there before. When Ryan came back home from school, he asked his father if Joe could come for a sleepover.
Ryan’s father was fine with it. He went to work afterwards and Ryan went to Joe’s house in order to pick him up. They had much fun and enjoyed the time together. They mainly played soccer on that day. It was already dark and they were still in the yard playing soccer.
They forgot about the time. All of a sudden Joe got a painful ache in his head although nothing had happened. Shortly after he realized that he had never felt that pain before, he saw a white car coming closer and parking at the street in front of Ryan’s house. Ryan wasn’t expecting his father to come home at that time. He hadn’t thought about it, because he had been too focused on playing soccer. But, fortunately, there wasn’t anything to worry about. It was dark but it wasn’t that late! It was 9 pm and his father told Ryan to go to bed at 10 pm. Ryan told Joe that the man behind the wheel of the white car was his father, who was coming back from work. Joe was curious because he had never seen Ryan’s father before.
Ryan and Joe went inside the house. They stood in the corridor as Ryan’s father came in. Joe was shocked by the look of Ryan’s father. He had a big scar on his face and devilish eyes. Ryan’s father looked very evil. Abruptly Joe’s headache became stronger.
But he carried his shock off very well. Joe smiled and said: “Hello, I’m Joe”. Ryan’s father asked confused: “You are Joe? “and Joe replied: “Yes, I am Joe”. That was all that Joe could recall after waking up in a hospital. Joe had pain all over his body and he had a black eye. What had happened to him?

Well, as Ryan’s father saw Joe he beat him down and was extremely violent towards Joe. Ryan, devastated because he wanted to help his best friend, couldn’t do anything. His fear held him back. He knew that his father was very strong so he didn’t do anything at all because he was scared. After Ryan’s father finished his misdeed, he threw Joe Murphy on the street in front of his house. He was injured but it wasn’t life-threatening. A neighbour found Joe lying on the street where it was deadly silent. He took him to the hospital. After Ryan’s father threw Joe on the street and came back inside the house, Ryan looked deep into his eyes and tried to find a good reason to understand why his father had done that. He finally asked his father, with a voice full of confusion, sadness and anger: “Why did you do that?“ To what his father replied: “You didn’t tell me that you have black friends! You will never meet him again, nor does anyone else like him. And if I ever catch you again spending time with such people you will suffer far more than Joe!”
To a child, whose soul and mind were yet untouched by the cruelty of this world; whose soul and mind were still pure, innocent and peaceful at that time, his father’s answer and what he had seen was totally incomprehensible and not justifiable at all. Out of fear of his father, Ryan stopped spending time with Joe Murphy. Not even in the school. Joe tried to talk to Ryan after he was released from the hospital, but Ryan ignored him. They were best friends and became strangers in less than a week. Ryan’s father was a racist. Ryan realized that and understood the meaning of racism as he grew older but it was never relatable to him he could never truly understand it.
Ryan could never truly understand why his father did what he did to his best friend. Joe and Ryan barely saw each other in school and they had not talked for such a long time. After finishing school, even though Ryan started to miss Joe Murphy and started to regret having ignore him as they were children, they never saw each other again.

I’m sure that racism will never die, but it will decrease within the next generations because these generations will learn from the mistakes of their ancestors. The future of mankind deserves faith, trust and hope.

words: 849

Mustafa Mbaye

SIGITAS PARULSKIS

Sigitas Parulskis

Sigitas Parulskis is a cult writer, one of the most popu­lar and most read contemporary Lithuanian authors. He has been active in the Lithuanian literature scene for over twenty years. He made his debut in 1990 with his book of poetry titled Iš ilgesio visa tai (It’s All Based on Longing), and wrote poetry, plays, and dramatizations during the first decade of inde­pendence. His work became popular and reached cult status after his first novel about the Soviet Army, titled Trys sekundės dangaus (Three Seconds of Heaven, 2002), and Nuogi drabužiai (Nude Clothes, 2002), a collection of essays. The author was awarded the National Litera­ture Prize in 2004. Parulskis’ writing frequently finds itself ranked highly on lists of the best or most popular books. The collection of essays titled Sraigė su beisbolo lazda (The Snail with the Baseball Bat) was nominated as the book of the year in 2007. Parulskis’ work stands out by its roughness an unflattering tone, its unadorned language, its sharp irony and self-irony, often giving way to coarse cynicism, a strong sense of existentialism, and reflections on the plight of man in today’s postmodern or post-humanistic epoch.

The Fangs of My Convictions is a multi-layered and multi-genre book. With documentary-like detail, this often existential and ironic Parulskis essay describes the recollections of a Soviet, i.e. a twen­tieth-century, man, and additionally includes I am Love, a theatri­cal monologue. The writer himself suggests to the reader that these words come from observation, experience, and imagination. Within them, behind the dense (self-conscious) irony and veil of light sar­casm lies solid life experience and emotion, a variety of manifesta­tions of being, reflections, realities, and recollections. The better part of the texts display Parulskis’ usual clear and evident thinking and writing style, next to which appears a new, and almost cynical fatigue of the narrator, that doesn’t stand-out, but reveals itself slowly – after all, convictions have fangs, but hold no promises.

Keywords: writing that comes from observation, experience, and imagination; life’s existentialism, accompanied by irony and self-irony, sarcasm; a degree of fatigue; a little bit of hope(lessness) about life; many recollections from the twentieth century.

Bitter be thy bread

Cast Thy Bread                                  BITTER BE THY BREAD

re-written in Romanian as Arunca painea ta pe ape (Cast Thy Bread Upon the Waters) . Fragments from Gabriel Plesea’s Prose.

(excerpt from Chapter 2)

 

The English version:

They parted, Jon remembered, soon after they finished their steaks. Their conversation began to drag on. They had nothing else to say. Jane seemed to be really lost in this new world, disoriented and helpless in deciding what to do next. Like himself, she did not know how to prove herself. He did agree. It was more than proving oneself. It was starting anew, from a clean slate. Forget what they had done before, in their home countries. Now they had to readjust here, enjoy life. On the other hand, they could not ignore past experiences — they couldn’t be all that useless or all that bad. He had heard of people who, once here, tried to forget all about their own countries, their origins, their trades and who avidly plunged into a melting pot of all nations of the world.    But, again, that was another myth of the past. Nowadays, the many ethnic groups resisted the melting pot — they wanted to remain what they had always been. They had their own schools, their own churches, temples, meeting houses, their own parades, their own festivals. They wore badges stating in block letters, »THANK GOD I AM ARMENIAN » or « KISS ME, I AM POLISH. » Entire streets displayed signs in Hebrew or in Chinese; notices and posters in subway stations or on the trains read in both English and Spanish. Why, then, would they throw away their own heritage? Just because their own were not so many, so evident? Or was it because their own were not so eager to help each other out? As individuals, if not as a group, he, Jane and others like them had a lot to offer to their adopted and adoptive country. They had to fight to preserve their personal ambitions, to regain at least part of their former status. Jon had always stated that it was plain stupid to renounce being an intellectual just because intellectuals were not highly regarded in this more pragmatic country. There was nothing to be ashamed of in being an intellectual, same as the natives were not at all ashamed of starting a business or working from an early age in stores, diners, gas stations, banks and in everything else. The work ethic of the people here must be adopted by all means — one must work to earn one’s bread. But that had nothing to do with one’s personal goals.      Some kind of « peaceful coexistence » must be achieved among so many traditions. Of course, there were the extremists who would insist that once here one must renounce his or her mother tongue, forget the past, forget friends, forget everything and become a born-again American. Jon had nothing against this theory either, but hated to hear how some despicable renegades said they loathed their own language, their own land. Then, there was the other lot, those who would continuously repeat, « Sir, I feel so free here, so liberated. This is true democracy! »

Jon remembered that some of these same individuals were former activists in trade-unions and the party or odious members of some dreadful government departments. They were the rats of the colony, the ones who were afraid of being asked what they had done back home and why. Jon avoided seeing any of them, to save his time and keep his good disposition. There were so many beautiful things in his new country, so many places, so many events that he had no time for trifles even if he wanted to.

For some time he hesitated to talk to the lady who came to sit by him on the bench in the park. In his lunch hour he used to go to the park to read his paper or just look at passers-by. He had always enjoyed the spectacle of the street, to watch those human creatures moving here and there, each with his own activity pattern implanted in his or her brain. He was curious to know what was crossing the mind of a particular passer-by. Why did he seem so preoccupied? He, Jon, had many reasons to be preoccupied, but that guy?

The lady next to him turned her head in his direction several times. Finally, she seemed to have gathered enough courage to ask him if he had worked at the institute. Then he remembered her. Yes, it was her all right. A little changed, but she it was.
At the beginning he did not venture too much, but she seemed quite willing to talk. There was none of the distance she used to put between herself and her interlocutor back home. She was on her lunch break, too. She worked for a dentist who was out of town that day so she could enjoy a longer break. That was good! Jon could always have a longer break, but he never took advantage of it. They started talking about people or places they both knew. And, as the place was getting too crowded and too noisy, they moved on to the streets. The walk made them hungry and they started looking for a diner or some sort of coffee place.

Jon remembered all these, as if they happened yesterday. Two weeks passed by and he did not hear from her. Then he forgot her. He had a lot of work to do at his office. The month-end was approaching and they had to close up the issue. He was doing editorial work for one of the magazines downtown — proofreading, paste-ups, layouts. They did not pay him well, but it was enough for a part-time job. He was also taking courses at Columbia and was quite happy to be able to make his work schedule around his classes. Midterm was almost here and he had to start reviewing some of the subjects he had found more difficult. Other than that, he enjoyed being a student again. It was fun and challenging. He had a good time, too. He had nice colleagues and good qualified professors. With the exception of one who taught American foreign policy. The poor guy seemed to read a course in political blunders! In fact he was not bad either, but Jon did not like his explanation of how and why Roosevelt had been duped by Stalin at Yalta when referring to the partition of Europe and subsequent Russian occupation of Eastern Europe. « There was not much he could do, he was a sick man, » the professor explained. Oh, just forget it! Better think of microeconomics analysis and that damned mathematical approach to it! Nothing like that before! Jon remembered the lectures on political economics back home; hour after hour of talk and no math. And now, after so many years without math, algebra, geometry and the like, he had to work hard on his problems of calculus! Still, he enjoyed it. He was competing with colleagues ten years his juniors and he wasn’t doing bad at all!

Jon had a moment’s respite now. It was one of those gorgeous October days, a Saturday. Although a weekend day, he had been at the library all morning to read some books for his term paper. He had plenty of time to write it, but he did not like to wait until the last minute. He was watching the news on TV, sipping at a Bloody Mary. The sun was gradually losing its brightness and was about to set somewhere behind the Manhattan skyline. Except for the bellowing of some silly TV commercials, all was quiet on the western front. His landlord had left for Florida to visit his old, aging partner. They were in real estate, making a lot of money, too. Nobody else was in the house. From time to time he could hear the boiler starting downstairs. Although only two people lived in the house, they had hot water day and night. This, and the low rent, attracted Jon to that one room apartment. Otherwise it was rather inconvenient. The room, the kichinette, the shower and a very small bathroom were all in the back of a one-family house in one of those strange Queens neighborhoods — Rego Park — a combination of family houses, apartment houses, high rises, expressways, boulevards and small back streets, all together in one place. It reminded Jon very much of one neighborhood of the Capital back home, a neighborhood where he lived through his high school days. Even now, after so many years, he could smell the smoke of burnt chestnut leaves in autumn, a smoke mixed with crisp, seasonal fresh air. He loved the thousand hues the leaves were displaying everywhere. And he liked the trip out to Jones Beach on a highway cut through beautifully colored vegetation. There he used to listen to the hiss, like a siren’s song, of the ocean whispering to his ears about the Old World, so heavy with memories and legends. Those were, he often confessed, the most difficult moments of his life here, in the New World. He had to break away, to pull himself out of that spell, away from that sweet call to go back.

He had made up his mind though, this was his new home. The price of going back would have been too high. He would have had to drink the cup of hemlock for being so eager to look for virtues outside his own world! He was here to stay and here he was to make it!

 

from Bitter Be Thy Bread
(GP, New York, 1989)

 

 

 

The Romanian version:

 

ARUNCA PAINEA TA PE APE
fragment

Ion isi aminti cum se despartira, imediat dupa ce-si terminasera fripturile. Conversatia incepuse sa treneze. Nu prea mai aveau ce sa-si spuna. Jenny parea cu adevarat pierduta in lumea noua, total dezorientata si neajutorata, nu stia ce sa faca mai departe. Ca si el, nu stia cum sa se afirme. Era de acord cu ea: nu era vorba numai de a te afirma ori de a dovedi. Era pornitul, iarasi, de la capat, de la zero. Trebuia sa uiti cine ai fost si ce ai facut inainte, in tara. Acum trebuia sa te readaptezi, ca sa poti trai viata de aici, in noua tara. Pe de alta parte, nu puteai arunca la gunoi experienta de dincolo: nu se putea sa fie cu totul si cu totul nefolositoare ori rea. Auzeai de oameni care, odata ajunsi aici, in America, incercau sa-si uite patria, originea si chiar meseriile, si care se aruncau fara frica in aceasta amestecatura pestrita a tuturor neamurilor de pe glob. Dar si astea, nu erau decat un mit din trecut. Acum, gruparile etnice rezistau la integrarea in acest cazan de topit: voiau sa ramana ceea ce fusesera si inainte. Isi aveau scolile lor, bisericile lor, templele, sinagogile, casele de rugaciune, propriile lor parazi si festivaluri. Purtau insigne pe care sta scris mare, ca sa se vada: SLAVA DOMNULUI CA SUNT ARMEAN! ori SARUTA-MA CA SUNT POLONEZ! Strazi intregi aveau firme in ebraica sau in chineza, in timp ce la statiile de metrou anunturile erau in engleza si spaniola. De ce sa se lepede el, Ion, ori Jenny, de traditiile lor? Doar ca ai lor nu erau atat de numerosi ori tot atat de vizibili? Ori fiindca nu prea se ajutau intre ei? Daca nu se evidentiau ca grup, oameni ca el, ori ca Jenny, aveau multe de oferit tarii lor adoptive. Trebuiau deci sa lupte sa-si pastreze propriile aspiratii, ca sa-si recapete macar o parte din fostul lor statut. Ion tot spunea ca este o prostie sa renunti sa fii intelectual, doar fiindca intelectualii sunt dispretuiti in tara asta cu orientare mai pragmatica. Nu e nici o rusine in a fi intelectual, tot asa cum nu e nici o rusine printre cei de aici sa-si deschida o pravalie, ori sa se apuce de vreo afacere, ori sa lucreze de mici in magazine, prin restaurante, la statiile de benzina, la banca ori te miri unde. Modul cum muncesc americanii trebuie adoptat, nici nu mai incape discutie, mai ales daca vrei sa-ti castigi painea in America, dar asta nu inseamna ca trebuie sa renunti la propriile idealuri. Un fel de coexistenta pasnica trebuie stabilita intre atatea traditii. Desigur, erau si extremistii, care insistau ca, odata stabilit aici, trebuie sa renunti la limba materna, sa-ti uiti trecutul, sa-ti uiti prietenii, sa uiti totul si sa devii un american nou-nout. Ion nu avea nimic impotriva acestei teorii si poate ca americanii gandeau sincer ca asa ar fi mai bine, dar i se facea pur si simplu scarba cand auzea pe vreun renegat dezgustator ca-si uraste limba ori pamantul in care s-a nascut. Nu-i placeau nici falsii, care-ti repetau fara sa clipeasca, « Domnule, eu ma simt atat de liber aici, sunt total eliberat: asta-i adevarata democratie! ».    Ion auzise ca unii dintre acesti indivizi fusesera mari activisti de partid, lucrasera pe la sindicate ori pe la ministere si directii care trezeau groaza si semanau moarte. Acestia erau sobolanii diasporei, tipi care-ti ocoleau privirea si se enervau cand ii intrebai cu ce se ocupasera in tara. Ion ii evita, ca sa nu piarda timpul ori sa-si strice buna dispozitie. Erau atat de multe lucruri frumoase si interesante in lumea noua: locuri, evenimente, incat, chiar daca ar fi vrut, nu ar fi avut timp sa le acorde cretinilor alora vreo atentie.

O vreme evita sa se adreseze doamnei aceleia, care se aseza langa el pe banca, in parculet. Obisnuia sa se duca acolo in pauza de pranz, sa citeasca ziarul sau sa se uite la trecatori. Ii placuse intotdeauna spectactolul strazii, sa urmareasca creaturile acelea omenesti misunand ici-colo, fiecare cu propriul lui circuit de trasee implantat in creier. Era curios sa stie ce i-ar fi putut trece prin cap unui anumit trecator. De ce era atat de preocupat? El, Ion, avea o groaza de motive sa fie preocupat, insa pe trecator ce-l obseda?

Doamna de langa el se uita de mai multe ori in directia lui. In cele din urma prinse curaj si-l intreba daca nu cumva a lucrat la Institut. In clipa aceea o recunoscu. Da, era chiar ea. Putin, foarte putin, schimbata, dar era ea.

La inceput Ion nu se arata prea vorbaret, insa ea parea foarte dornica sa schimbe o vorba cu un compatriot. Nu mai avea nimic din aerul acela care, acasa, in tara, te tinea la distanta. Si ea era in pauza. Lucra la un dentist care participa la un seminar in ziua aceea, asa ca putea sa stea mai mult afara. Ce bine! Ion putea sa-si ia pauze lungi oricand voia, dar nu profita. Incepura sa vorbeasca despre cunostinte comune, despre locuri pe care le frecventau si unul si altul. Si, cum parculetul se cam umpluse cu lume, pornira la plimbare, pe strada. Mersul le facu foame si incepura sa se uite dupa un bufet ori un loc unde sa bea o cafea.

Ion isi amintea lucrurile acestea de parca s-ar fi intamplat ieri. Trecura doua saptamani in care nu primi nici o veste de la ea. Apoi o uita. Avea mult de lucru la serviciu. Se apropia sfarsitul de luna si trebuia sa incheie editia. Facea un fel de munca editoriala la o publicatie din downtown, in districtul financiar, ajutand la corectura, la punerea in pagina, la publicare. Nu-l plateau cine stie ce, dar era destul de bine pentru programul lui redus. Era inscris la Universitatea Columbia si-i convenea job-ul, fiindca putea sa-si aranjeze programul de lucru dupa cum avea cursurile. Sesiunea de examene se apropia cu pasi repezi si voia sa recapituleze niste subiecte mai dificile.    Altfel, il amuza nespus ca redevenise student. Faptul il amuza dar ii punea si ambitia la incercare. Se si distra, nu-i vorba. Avea colegi simpatici si profesori buni, toti cu palmares academic impresionant. Cu exceptia unuia, care preda un curs despre politica externa americana. Sarmanul profesor, parea ca tine un curs de gafe politice! De fapt, nici el nu era chiar rau, insa lui Ion nu-i placea de loc explicatia profesorului de cum si de ce fusese Roosevelt tras pe sfoara la Yalta de catre Stalin, asta apropo de impartirea Europei si ocuparea de catre rusi a Europei de Rasarit. « Nu putea face prea multe, era un om bolnav », explica profesorul. « Pe dracu’ bolnav! » se enerva Ion, promitandu-si sa nu se mai gandeasca la tampenia asta. Era mai castigat daca se ocupa de analiza microeconomica si blestemata aia de interpretare matematica. Nici nu suferea comparatie! Ion isi amintea de cursurile de economie politica din tara: ore in sir de prelegere si nici un pic de matematica. Si acum, dupa atatia ani fara probleme de algebra, de geometrie si alte asemenea, trebuia sa se chinuie cu problemele de calcul diferential. Ii placeau, insa. Se lua de fapt la intrecere cu colegii mai tineri cu zece ani decat el si nu se facea deloc de ras!

Dar acum Ion se putea relaxa. Era una din zilele acelea minunate de octombrie, intr-o sambata. Desi zi de weekend, fusese toata dimineata la biblioteca sa citeasca niste carti pentru lucrarea de semestru. Avea tot timpul sa o scrie, dar nu-i placea sa o lase pana in ultima clipa. Urmarea stirile la televizor, sorbind dintr-un Bloody Mary. Soarele isi pierdea treptat din intensitate si se pregatea sa apuna undeva in spatele zgarie-norilor din Manhattan. In afara de urletul strident al unor reclame comerciale, nimic nou pe frontul de vest. Proprietarul plecase in Florida sa-si viziteze partenerul, un batran avocat. Faceau afaceri impreuna: vanzari-cumparari de case si inchirieri de imobile si le mergea foarte bine. Erau plini de bani. In casa nu mai era nimeni altcineva.          Din cand in cand auzea boilerul cum porneste, jos in subsol. Desi in casa locuiau doar doi oameni, aveau apa calda zi si noapte. Aceasta, ca si chiria rezonabila, il facuse pe Ion sa se mute in apartamentul acela mic. Daca se gandea mai bine, era incomod chiar. Camera, bucatarioara, dusul si o toaleta miniscula erau toate inghesuite in spatele unei casute pentru o familie intr-unul din cartierele acelea cu nume ciudat din Queens – unul din borough-urile New York-ului -, Rego Park, o combinatie de case familiale, blocuri, vile, autostrade, bulevarde si strazi, alei, toate de-a valma intr-un singur loc. Lui Ion ii aducea aminte de cartierul de la Sosea, de acasa, in care locuise pana in anii liceului.  Chiar si acum, dupa atatia ani, simtea mirosul acela de fum de la frunzele de castan arse, amestecat cu aerul piscator al toamnei. In Rego Park, ii placeau miile de nuante ale frunzelor ce impodobeau cartierul. Ca si drumul spre plaja de la Jones Beach, la Atlantic, croit printre vegetatia frumos colorata a batranului Long Island. Acolo se ducea sa asculte la murmurul, ca un cant de sirene, al Oceanului, care ii soptea despre Batranul Continent atat de incarcat de aminitiri si povesti. Acele momente, marturisea Ion, erau cele mai greu de infruntat in viata lui aici, in Lumea Noua. Ii trebuia o putere supraomeneasca sa se smulga de acolo, cat mai departe de acea dulce imbiere de a se duce inapoi.

Se hotarase ca aici trebuia sa fie noua lui casa. Pretul intoarcerii ar fi fost mult prea mare: ar fi trebuit sa bea din cupa cu cucuta pentru ca a cautat virtuti in afara propriei lui lumi. Acum se afla aici, si aici avea sa o scoata la capat!

din romanul Arunca painea ta pe ape
(Editura Vestala, 1994)

 

Here are the links where you can find the English version of the novel:

 

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=IqKQNZ4UjzcC&pg=PP2&lpg=PP2&dq=gabriel+plesea&source=bl&ots=C2ccrnDJ_3&sig=7UThwj4zerSqdO7lEBobqkKEIbE&hl=en&sa=X&ei=34SEVMavOIL7UIqqhPgP&ved=0CCcQ6AEwATgK#v=onepage&q=gabriel%20plesea&f=false

 

http://www.google.ro/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CC4QFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fbookstore.iuniverse.com%2FProducts%2FSKU-000071891%2FCAST-THY-BREAD-UPON-THE-WATERS.aspx&ei=QDSPVMsqyvVQ5a2CiAs&usg=AFQjCNGDs9wqwt2ctZeuhWOBbdPzojeC4A&bvm=bv.81828268,d.d24&cad=rja

GABRIEL PLESEA

 

                             Romanian author : GABRIEL PLESEA

Biography

Born in Bucharest, Romania, Gabriel Plesea’s university background includes a License in Philology from the University of Bucharest, and a Master’s Degree in International Affairs from Columbia University School of International Affairs.

His literary activity started as early as 1972 and continued after his immigration in the USA, in 1976.

A writer, translator and journalist, his work includes 4 novels, 2 literary criticism books, and 3 collections of articles published in various newspapers and magazines.

He enjoys traveling, sports, reading and writing.

He is married to Dr. Ana Cristina Plesea, a DDS, and they both live in New York City.
www.gabrielplesea.net

Gabriel Plesea: A Short Presentation

A Management Information Systems specialist until he decided to turn to full-time writing, Gabriel Plesea arrived in the United States in January 1976. He was joining his wife Ana Cristina, who had decided to « choose freedom » in early 1974, settling down in New York City. A licentiate of the University of Bucharest (majoring in English), Gabriel went to Columbia University’s School of International Affairs, and earned a Master’s Degree in 1979. His literary pursuits started in the ’70’s with translations of essays, poetry, short prose and novels, which he published back in Romania during 1970 – 1974 period in literary magazines (such as Ramuri, Secolul 20, Romanian Review, Tribuna, Viata Romaneasca). In the United States, after obtaining his MIA and while taking up courses in computer programming and system design, he expanded his area of literary interests to novel writing and journalism. After 1991, he has published four novels, one volume on contemporary American writers and one on Romanian writers in New York, along with five volumes of collected articles. In parallel he filed a series of literary columns with Jurnalul literar and Luceafarul, two literary magazines back in Bucharest. Since 1993 he has signed special correspondences on U.S. events for the daily Romania libera, also of Bucharest, covering the United Nations as well. For the Romanian publications in exile, he writes for New York Magazin (N.Y.) and was a frequent contributor to Lumea libera romaneasca (N.Y.) and to Dorul (Denmark).

Bio-bibliography

Novelist, translator and journalist, born on August 9, 1942, in Bucharest. Residing in U.S. since 1976. Education: Licentiate in Philology (English major), Bucharest University (1967), Master of International Affairs, Columbia University (1979), New York. Published Work: Novels: Arunca painea ta pe ape (Cast Thy Bread Upon the Waters), 1994 (Romanian version of Bitter Be Thy Bread, New York, GP, 1989), Imposibila reintoarcere (The Impossible Return), 1996, Dosarul cu barfe (The Gossip File), 2000; The three novels have been brought together in one volume: Trilogia exilului (The Exile Trilogy), 2002; Destine intortocheate (Twisted Destinies), 2006; Literary Correspondence (in volume): Scriitori americani contemporani (Contemporary American Writers), 1997, Literary Criticism: Scriitori romani la New York (Romanian Writers in New York), 1998, (winner of The Neptune Literary Award, 1999); Articles (in volume): Corespondente din New York (Correspondences from New York), 1999, Concordia ca necesitate inteleasa (Concord as Accepted Necessity), 2001, Reporter la New York (Reporter in New York), 2004, Marasmul romanesc (Romanian Morass), 2011, Un reporter roman la Natiunile Unite (A Romanian Reporter at the United Nations), 2012; Translations: Charles Dickens, Pictures from Italy (Impresii din Italia), 1997, Michael Impey, Sweetheart’s Image in Tudor Arghezi’s Poetry (Imaginea iubitei in poezia lui Tudor Arghezi), 1974, Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Return of Tarzan (Intoarcerea lui Tarzan), 1973, 1993 & 2005, 5 Povesti cu cowboy, in collaboration, (Five short stories by O’Henry, Stephen Crane, John Graves), 1972, Piet Hein, Grooks (Grook-uri); Journalism: Numerous articles, book reviews, pieces on literary, art and political issues filed with Romania libera, Jurnalul Literar, Luceafarul (all of Bucharest), Lumea Libera Romaneasca (N.Y.), Dorul (Denmark), New York Magazin (N.Y.). Member of: USR, Romanian Writers’ Society, AZR, Romanian Journalists’ Association, Foreign Press Association, New York (President, 2004 – 2005), United Nations Correspondents Association, New York, American Romanian Academy of Arts and Sciences, USA.