There is a restlessness, a certain melange that I feel as I sit, almost at midnight, alone in an apartment far away from my country. I am careful to refer to the country of my birth what it is. I don’t call it home because there is no home, not yet. There is a very slight breeze that is caressing the leaves on the trees across the street. A lone streetlight shines like a beacon, reminding me of the darkness that surrounds it. I stand at the balcony more often than I used to. I am trying to reduce my smoking, because there is a perceptible difficulty in my breathing.
My apartment is not silent, of course. Charles Aznavour’s “Hier Encore” plays softly, permeating through my mostly dark apartment. I cannot stand brightness, I find a certain soothing balm in the poorly lit apartment that I live in.
Why am I here?
I am a continent away from my own country. I am thousands of kilometers from the only people I can call friends, there is an old lover back there.
I am running.
All my life seems to be summarized in that one sentence. I am running, always have. There is so much confusion in this world, so much chaos in life that there is no reconciliation. As I looked at the smoke rising from my cigarette, I wondered what was the point to trying to quit smoking? What was the benefit? I am a cripple anyways. My spinal injuries make pain a hum to every moment of my life. I am running from my country, I am running from my family, I am running from everything and everyone. I stand at the balcony of my apartment, watching people walk by, I find that I know nothing about them.
I turned to the topmost floor of a building opposite mine, I sometimes see the silhouette of a girl, her slender frame is nothing more than a vague shadow from where I stand. I stand at my balcony, wondering if she can see me, and if she can, what does she see? I know nothing of her, and she knows nothing of me. That is no epiphany, there is no divine truth to be found in knowing that the somnolent figure, leaning against the wall in his apartment, is a foreigner who is running, and running away from everything.
People often speak of their old lovers with a certain fondness. There is only one old lover that I have and I don’t miss her, even if I think of her everyday. Unwitting thoughts of her come to me when I least expect them, I remember her voice, some thing she said, some thing she felt, some where I met her, and yet there is no bitterness, no hatred, no fondness, no love. I had only one lover in the past, but I did have muses, and now, they are nothing more than bitter words on paper that no eyes but mine have read.
I don’t miss Marija, because she is like a spark that lasted less than a second, and there is nothing that I can remember her by, except for a book I can’t bring myself to read, even if I resolve every night to. A whisper in my mind says “Adara”, and yet, every time I hear that whisper, from a forgotten corner, I find it even more difficult to recall her features. Her face in my mind, looks as if it is being viewed through a mist. I can’t remember her eyes, but with some effort I can see her as a shadow on the periphery in my vision. I am not a hopeless romantic, and I never will be. I can see my cane laid on my sofa, and I find that I am relying on it far too often. There is a heaviness in my left leg, the ravaged nerves scream in protest sometimes and there is nothing to dull them. There is nothing to stop the angry orchestra off inflamed nerves and tired muscles, as they scream in staccatos that find no ear to listen.
I am often told that there is so much beauty in the world. I am told that I am lucky, to sit here, in a city in Eastern Europe, studying something that I enjoy. The truth is often more bitter than that. The truth is that I am running. I am running from everything that could be called mine, my country, my family, my friends, my school, my memories, and reluctantly, my life. I find that my life is here, secluded in an apartment that I chose as my sanctuary.