M-A-R-I-N-A… A Strange Name For Love!

Žena na grobljuAnd that day, when he went round the stall I was working at, he stopped and in front of all the guests and dignitaries that were waiting for a speech on his award-winning new novel, he glanced at the name tag on my chest and said:

“M-A-R-I-N-A… What a strange spelling for love in this language!”

And no, I was not embarrassed; because falling in love at first sight is nothing to be ashamed of… it is only embarrassing not to immediately admit it to yourself.

And that day when he recited to me those intangible and incomprehensible Prever’s verses! When he cited a Thai wise man with whom he shared a meal once; when he dug up, from the depths of his mind, rhymes that could only be described as the ones that Balasevic never wrote!

And no, I was not afraid, because scary is only what we wish for to be scary! Everything else is simply – life!

And no, I was not ashamed to memorise his first text message, which I have been saving all these years like a priceless relic:

“The experience taught me never to be the first to show to a woman that I like her. And I didn’t show it to you… I directly told you! Experience also taught me that I should not be sending you any messages, until I realise that you want me at least a bit… And so, you see, I am not sending them! Experience taught me to wait, not to be impatient. And so, you see, I am not. Experience taught me that the one that doesn’t want you is worth more than thousands of them queuing to get under you. But, where did I get all that experience from? Experience, my arse! Be mine! Be mine, at least forever!”

My lucky number all those months was the number of my heartbeats, while he was passing by, within my scent range. Countless beats! My lucky number was the number of butterflies flickering in my eyes while he was trying to catch some more of Kierkegaard’s thoughts.

“Marina, do you know, by any chance, what is the colour of the wind?” my Professor of literature asked me one of those mornings. “Sky blue? Forest green? Sea turquoise? Yellow like the autumn, white like the winter? Noooo! No! The wind always and forever had HIS colour! Whatever the season!

But… forever doesn’t exist! ‘Forever’ was made up by the people who invent fairy tales. The only time that exists is the time when you have to be somebody else in order to be who you really are! There exists simply a fascination with the idea that the whole world is celebrating only you, because you have an impression that by loving one man, you are in love with the whole world.

And then you realise that the whole world is just a stopover between unlimited happiness and complete loneliness! The amount of love that you suddenly capture triggers inside you a wish for only one thing – for this love never to be lost, and the power of that wish is directly linked to the amount of loneliness you surround yourself with after that love is gone.

And that day when he has, in his own peculiar way, said that it is not the end because he wants it to end, but because life dictates so! I didn’t believe him, I defied the truth… but it was too late… he went away without my “I’m sorry!” He left me to grow old alone; he left me without anyone on this irrelevant planet. He left me with a dead sea in my eyes.

And that day when I had for a millionth time wiped the dust from his gravestone at New Belgrade Cemetery, I realised that my solitude through all these years was not that difficult to endure because I had memories which made my life worth living.

And no, I was not ashamed to memorise his last message, written by his weak, shaky hand, and which I treasured throughout the decades like an ancient relic:

“If you ever had to choose between loneliness and being alone, choose the latter! They are not the same! We choose to be alone, but the loneliness is forced upon us! It is a destiny of us artists not to be able to choose a moment when we will depart. That moment always chooses us. It is our artistic privilege to be able to create always… even when it is hard. But what we do create can be called a work of art only if it was conceived and executed while we were in love, or while we were lonely. Let’s be absolutely clear though, I am not describing my current state! This is a description of the state of my whole life. This is what that Thai wise man told me over our modest meal all those years ago…”

“M-A-R-I-N-A… What a strange spelling for love… !”

P.S. This story is only part of my new book … the book is part of my old life

by A.S.Jovanović

* Special thanks to master Srđan Perović for translation

Serbian version of this story

Story “Mr. Majevski’s Dream”

 

 

San gospodina Majevskog

lonely-old-man

Prošla je ta noć, i sledeća, i još jedna noć posle nje…Prošla je godina, vek…Ceo život mi je protekao kao poslednja kap jutarnje rose sa lista žalfije u bašti moje bake. Vreme je prolazilo, kao što samo vreme ume da prolazi u jeftinim holivudskim nemim filmovima. Brzo, tužno i uporno!

Gospodin Majevski bio je od samog rođenja pravi predratni gospodin, mekan kao svaka ruska duša, vaspitan po pariskom bontonu, školovan na bečkim valcerima. Naučen da poštovanjem drugih zaslužuje i svoje poštovanje. Imućna ruska porodica koja se po njegovom rođenju preselila u Beograd dala mu je sve i uzela samo jedno – pravo na izbor! Voleo je lepu, al sirotu! Gospođicu Olgu, ćerku starog kovača Hofmana… vaspitavanu na dorćolskom bontonu, školovanu na zvucima čekića i nakovnja. Nisu mu je dali, nisu joj ga dozvolili!

»Bio sam zaljubljen kako samo beli labudovi umeju da se zaljube… slepo, uporno i za čitav život! Prva ljubav bila mi je i jedina, ali i poslednja. Tek napunih dvadeset i prvu i reših da je ukradem i s njom pobegnem na kraj sveta. Pa da, ako je on zaista ravna ploča zajedno skočimo u svemirski bezdan! Ali, tada je moju sreću ukrao rat. Moju malu Jevrejku odneo je voz! Sa žutom zvezdom na ruci odvedena je u jednom pravcu. Iznenada, tužno i uporno!«

Gospodin Majevski prestao je da bude gospodin i postao je vuk! Postao je Majković! Umesto Šopenovih nežnih nota slušao je surovo vrištanje mitraljeza i bubnjanje bombi. Boreći se protiv onih koji su ukrali razlog njegovog života, borio se i protiv sebe. Iz rata je izašao kao kapetan, posle rata postao je major, a nakon nekog vremena i pukovnik. U penziju je otišao kao general! Ostao je u vojnoj službi iz jednog jedinog razloga – da lakše pronađe svoju Olgu!

»Nisam nikada odustao od ideje da je ona tamo negde i da čeka da je spasem. Ni kad su mi rekla da joj se posle ulaska u nemački logor izgubio svaki trag. Ni kad sam saznao da su se preživeli Hofmani preselili u Izrael, ali da na spisku svih Hofmana ovog sveta nema nijedne Olge. Ni kad sam prevrnuo nebo i zemlju tražeći je. Ni kad sam saznao da moj ceo svet zapravo više ne postoji. Ni kad sam uporno odbijao da prestanem da budem uporan«

General Majković prestao je da bude general, jer su drugi tako odlučili. Nova vlast nije cenila njegovu posvećenost poslu, njegove diplomatske sposobnosti, njegovo 18-očasovno radno vreme. Nisu cenili njegovu upornost da radi »čak i do smrti«, kako je umeo i sam da kaže. Penzionisali su ga, i kao osobu bez porodice, imetka koji je potrošio na putovanja po svetu i bez staratelja smestili u penzionerski dom na Bežanijskoj kosi.

»Živeo sam okružen ljudima koji su u životu imali sve ili ostali bez svega. Ja sam imao – ništa! Samo svoj san i upornost da ga makar odsanjam do kraja. I onda, jednog jutra, na vratima moje sobe pojavila se starija gospođa kojoj je iskrzani šešir skrivao polovinu lica, dok je preko druge polovine padao uvojak koji je imala samo moja Olga. I koji je uvek uporno bežao ka meni«.

Penzioner Majković nije više želeo da se budi. Čak ni kad su mu rekli da je njegov san došao da samog kraja i da je njegova uporna želja da dočeka svoju prvu i jedinu, sada gospođu Hofman, bila jača od sudbine. Iste one koja je Olgu, naterala da nakon oslobađanja jevrejskog logora uz pomoć ruskih vojnika pobegne u Moskvu, u kojoj je bila i pralja i švalja. U kojoj je bila sve, samo ne nečija. U kojoj je pod drugim imenom uporno i vredno radila kako bi skupila novac i širom Rusije tražila svog Majevskog. Ni sanjala nije da je na drugom kraju sveta Majković čekao nju! U želji da poslednje dane svog života provede u rodnom gradu, uporna, umorna i stara Jevrejka izabrala je penzionerski dom na Bežanijskoj kosi.

»Nisam ni sanjao da ću je čekati celog svog života. Ali ona i jeste bila ceo moj život, moja doživotna robija, moj usud i moja kletva. Ne znam da li se u isplakane računaju i one suze koje nikada ne poteku, tek tog prvog i poslednjeg jutra s njom shvatio sam da je upornost jedina stvar koja se u životu isplati. Makar i na taj jedini sekund kada mi se učinilo da sam je ugledao na vratima svoje penzionerske sobe, makar i u ovom snu koji uporno prestaje da bude san.«

Nagrada za njegovu upornost trajala je tek nekoliko sekundi, ali je za to vreme gospodin, ratnik, general i penzioner Majevski video je ceo svoj život – video je nju! Sa osmehom na licu, dok mu je sedu kosu nežno mazila ostarela ruka Olge Hofman, završio je svoj predivni san. I ostao sklopljenih očiju. Uporan i srećan!

Nepunih sedam dana kasnije, pored njegovog, na skromnom spomeniku od belog kamena isklesano je i njeno ime.

(Priča “San gospodina Majevskog” je samo deo moje nove knjige… a ta knjiga je, kao i sve ostalo deo mog starog života… Jednako kao i priča “Marina – čudno ime za ljubav“)

A.S.Jovanović

old man old woman