Nostalgia – part 3

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Nostalgia part 1- HERE

Nostalgia part 2- HERE

… If electricity was made out of tears, I could’ve supported the whole country the night I read the letter from Borislav. The day after I woke up with a very high fever. To me it was the reaction of my broken heart, to my mom- endless lecturing about how I didn’t dress warm enough. I went back to school, after five days in bed, only to find everyone stared at me with pity, thanks to Mimi’s hidden talent as a CNN reporter, ready to broadcast anything that was none of her business. Her love towards gossip usually didn’t bother me, but when one of my private moments was involved, I lost trust in her, in my faith in friendship, in general. It was hard to go through Borislav’s absence by myself, but I knew, soon, the school year will be over and I will leave “Twin Peaks”/ a nickname I had for my home town, because of all the gossip and intrigues/ and its people. The biggest irony was that, out of the blue, I found comfort in the last person I expected to- Toma. It was a month after the night with the letter, I was at the stadium waiting for my brother and he came to me and we spoke for a first time in a very long time.

‘So, they say your soldier was a serial killer, but he was so badly in love with you that he left town to spare your life. Some crazy people in town, huh? How you doing?’
‘And I thought we lack talent in the area, but apparently, best-selling authors have been amongst us. Now, have your victorious moment over my misery and leave me alone Toma!’
‘I’m not here to gloat, don’t go all judgy on me, I am trying to make it up to you for the time that I treated you bad. That was me being a friend!’
‘And he can be nice! And I don’t have to beg him! Just so you know, we’re not going back together if that’s your goal here.’
‘Are you mad? I ain’t giving a reason to your psycho boyfriend to come back and add me to his killer’s collection.’
And I laughed, for a first time in a month I laughed and because I’ve always believed in second chances, I gave Toma one, as a friend, not right away, not that day at the stadium, but it felt right, because his efforts to make me smile didn’t stop and because I was lonely.

A month later, school was over, we had our prom night and to me it was absolutely boring and tasteless, apart from the time when Toma, two of his friends and I left the restaurant and played billiard all night. And another month later, the acceptance letters for the Universities came. I chose the future- technology and computers, electronic engineering. The base of the University was in Sofia/ the capital of Bulgaria/, but it had branches in other three cities. I was directed to the branch in Sliven, town very close to my mother’s parents. Mom was happy that I will have someone near to keep an eye on me. I liked that part of Bulgaria very much and our visits to granny Helena and grandad George were only in the summer, which for me it wasn’t enough. A week before the beginning of the academic year, the administration of the University called to say how terribly sorry they all are, but there has been a mistake and I was supposed to be in the branch in Plovidv. Plovdiv, the town I will always favor the most in Bulgaria, the town where my mom and dad met and studied, the town where Borislav was born and lived.

The ancient theater- Plovdiv, by Blaga Todorova

It was a whole new world to me. A place where you couldn’t see the same face twice unless you wanted to. I didn’t know anybody, no one knew me and there was a charm in the strangers, in the ancient theater, in the fountains, in my new beginning. Back then we owned a little flat in Plovdiv, but my parents refused to let me live alone, with no one to supervise me, not the first year when I wasn’t 18 yet. I was sent to the dormitory of the University, which it wasn’t bad at all. It was connected to the building where we had all our classes. The rooms were excellent, the first nine floors were with bedrooms that had 2 beds and a bathroom and the rest of the floors, to the 14th floor, were little apartments- two bedrooms, each with a bathroom, sharing a kitchen. I got a room on the 14th floor. The lobby of the dormitory had a coffee shop, restaurant, TV- room, library and study rooms- everything that I personally needed and there was the one thing my parents wanted- day and night supervisors, most of them were very strict, and it would’ve been a mistake if they were not, hundred of us students in one place, without a discipline it wouldn’t have worked.

My favorite was a woman called Ginka. She was once a nurse in a female prison and sometimes she looked scary, everyone called her Grizzly bear, but deep down she was a person who cared about all of us, and when humanity was offered, she responded with her heart. I called her mama Bear. The first day my mother and I arrived at the dormitory,  she was the one to show me that there was nothing to be stressed about. ‘ Don’t you worry Mrs. Kera’, she told my mom, ‘We are going to take a very good care of your baby doll.’ My roommate was a very shy and easily disturbed with nonsense girl, exactly the opposite on what I have always been. Confidence and energy was my territory, confusion and exhaustion was hers. But I guess that brought a balance and we lived good together. The first year passed by so quickly, I met so many people, I had my first real boyfriend and by the end of the year we broke up because I caught him cheating on me. The exams went well and my parents were happy. I spent the summer back home, with Toma and few of our classmates, we all had stories to share from the first year away and it was a great summer.

But going back home brought back the memories of Borslav, there were nights when I was tortured by so many questions and when I went back to Plovdiv in September, the first thing that I did was to find every phone number that belonged to people with his family name. There were 42 numbers under the name Simeonov and I called them all, one by one, asking for Borislav, but all I heard was that I’ve dialed the wrong number. Few of them didn’t answer and a week later I tried again. One was the winner. The man that answered said that he was Borislav’s cousin and that Borislav didn’t have a land line, but he will pass on the message that I called. I left my name, the address and the phone number of the dormitory and the waiting began, day after day, a week, five weeks, but nothing happened. I gave up waiting, I thought he didn’t remember me or he didn’t want to see me.  I thought it wasn’t meant to be and life kept running around me and I stopped thinking of him.

Every November the Universities in Plovdiv organized a basketball tournament. Our University hosted the event that year and every Friday there were games in the GYM across the park from the dormitory. It was the final game between our team and the team of the University of Arts. We were friends with most of the boys from our team, so we went to the game to support them. At least most of us. I went to the game because there was a boy from the Arts team that I liked and he had invited me. Our team won the game and by the end of it I had a date with art guy. I wanted to go back to the dormitory as soon as possible to change into my new skirt and put some make up on. Going out from the GYM with Nina/ my roommate/ and Daniella/ a girl that lived on our floor/, we saw the bus to campus leaving and knowing that the next one will be in at least 45 minutes, without a hesitation I convinced the girls to go through the park. Actually there wasn’t any convincing, I declared that I am walking through the park and they were too scared to leave me alone/ or to stay alone perhaps!/.

The shortcut through the park would’ve taken us home for less than 10 minutes. But the rumors that at night it wasn’t a safe place to be at, made those 10 minutes a nightmare. I wasn’t afraid, but Nina and Daniella panicked and ran, I had no other choice but to follow them, because they ran in the wrong direction.  By the time I found a way out of the park, we were covered in mud and soaked in rain. As soon as we entered the dormitory I heard Ginka calling my name, ‘Todorova, come here!’, and it wasn’t the first time I thought that she had a personal radar for each of us to track down, even without seeing us.

‘That would be me.”, I said, still overwhelmed by the running.
And when I aproached her cabin by the inside doors to the lobby and she saw the three of us in the state we were, she slowly put her glasses down on the desk and got out of the cabin with hands on her waist, speechless at first.
‘… or what’s left out of you three. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, where have you been?’
‘To the basketball game.’, I spoke quickly, trying to avoid the details.
‘And has it been raining mud inside the bus on your way back?’
But before I came up with an answer, Nina opened her mouth and made things even worse.
‘We wouldn’t know what was like inside the bus, because adrenaline junkie here …’
I didn’t let her finish, I pinched her arm and she squealed, but it was too late, mama Bear was everything else but a fool.

‘The next time you dare to walk in that park at night, if somebody doesn’t kill you over there, I will be here to do that instead! And you two? When will you stop following her ideas and then moan and groan? Get a personality and learn how to resist! Now, all of you, repeat – “Thank you God for saving us today and forgive our stupidity” and go have some tea before you catch a cold.’
‘Since we are all one, big happy family and grateful that we’ve survived the day, can we move on? Why did you call me?’, I snapped annoyed and with irony.
‘Just because I don’t have the time to deal with you right now it doesn’t mean that we are done with this conversation young lady. You have a visitor, waiting for you on the table next to the elevators at the coffee shop.’
‘Visitor? Who is it?’, I asked surprised, arts guy wasn’t supposed to be here yet. Maybe it was Toma, he had that habit to surprise me and I headed to the elevators and mama Bear shouted after me:
‘And easy on the music in your room doll, your neighbor thinks that Whitney Houston has moved in with you!’, I laughed and sent her a kiss in the air.

The area in the coffee shop by the elevators was usually dark in the evening, because there was a movie on and the only light came from the TV screen. It took me a while to adjust to the darkness, but once I saw the man sitting there, his legs in black jeans- stretched on a chair, his arms- filling a white shirt, it took me only a second to recognize him, even if not in an army uniform. The deep breaths didn’t stop my galloping heart, my hands trembled and I stood there, not knowing what to do. The next moment the movie was over and someone put the lights back on and it felt like everyone stared at awkwardly-doing-nothing me. Someone passed by, asked me about the game. My answer came in a voice so strange, but still my voice and then he turned around and saw me. Borislav, my soldier and his green eyes stared at me. And we were just two people staring at each other, not knowing what to say first, how to say it. It felt like in a dream, but it wasn’t, Nina was pulling my arm asking:

‘Are you sitting here with us? Do you want me to order you a tea, we don’t have any upstairs?’
‘No.’, I answered, ‘I’ve ordered room-service already and my drink has just arrived. See you guys tomorrow’
Borislav heard me and the stillness on his face turned into a smile. I took his hand and led him to the elevators. I didn’t bother to look at puzzled Nina, I knew she was used to strange me. As soon as the elevator doors closed, I barely managed to press 14 and he grabbed me, I found his lips and the nights with longing, the daydreams with desire erupted in the space between my and his face. The elevator stopped, a boy walked in. Our lips parted, but we didn’t let go of each other. The green in his eyes was mad, with passion, moonlight was dancing in my heart. Some floors later the boy walked out, we were alone again and I almost cried:
‘You left, you left me and you didn’t write, you didn’t call. I waited and it hurt …
”I’m here, I’m here now, my love!’, his hand pushed the red button saying STOP and there, trapped between the 13th and the 14th floor, love appeared, mixed with shadows and pieces of our souls, hunting the sparkles of the stars, demanding, hungry for the life in our hearts…

TO BE CONTINUED …

I thought I could fit everything in 3 parts, but I guess I was wrong!

Thank you everyone for stopping by, have a wonderful weekend!

Love & Peace …

Image- "Paper heart" by Sonam Mandal; Poem- Damian Damianov

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© 2012  Broken Sparkles

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