• The poetry of details

Tow The cactus or A letter to Ani.

Updated: Nov 17, 2018


My dear Ani,


I wish I was next to you and discuss this face to face, because I know you always have the best answers. I need a new suggestion- what should I read next? Did you read anything good lately? Something that kept you awake during the night? I keep wonder why don’t you write a book, by the way? I want to find the answers to all my questions, questions that have been wandering in my head for the last couple of days.


Why can’t we accept a compliment? Why do we put a wall in front of us when someone show the smallest sign of affection? What happened to us (or maybe more important when?) that we don’t know how to react to a nice word?


I spend a lot of my time reading, but reading for me isn’t always connected to books. I read articles about art, about politics (I feel like Romania is so lost at the moment) and I analyze everything I read. For me everything is so simple – thanks to you! I know how to read a metaphor, I know how to recognize a hyperbole or an oxymoron. How different is “Autumn is here, cover my heart with something” and “The weather is depressing”? Not only when it comes to the words used, but also the feeling it gives. With whom would you choose to be a friend if you could choose? The one who talks about nostalgia...or the latter, the person who doesn’t see the beauty in autumn? Yes, it’s rainy and windy, but this is how this season is. You know, Bukowski said “People run from rain but sit in bathtubs full of water." – and it’s a dirty water, in the end. Haha. People are so easily scared.


But I want to go back to the fear of a compliment. It’s a story I want to share with you. It’s about one rainy morning, when I was waiting for the metro. I had a book in one hand and I was searching for the cellphone in my backpack when I noticed an eighteen years old girl passing by. She had a T-shirt with the drawing of a cactus and a “Would you dare to hug me” -message written. It made me smile and the second time she passed by me I told her “Cool T-shirt”. She smiled back and answered she found it in a I-don’t-remember-the-name-of the-shop on the a I-don’t-remember-the-name-of the-street. I replied that I will still hug her, even if she would wear the T-shirt every day. And I smiled. But what’s important for you to understand is that our short conversation lasted for as long as the people were getting off. The moment she had the opportunity to enter the train, she looked at me scared and went left, until the end of the train. I went on the right and found an empty seat close by. And I was sad for a couple of minutes.


Ani, you know me well. You know how I behave and how I talk. You know my voice and why three words spoken out loud don’t scare me. But this young woman was so frightened by the thought that I could actually hug her, that she run away. And even though I didn’t make any steps towards her and gave her was no signs that would suggest an oncoming hug, I can’t wrap my head around that morning. It’s a rejection coming from one woman directed to another woman. It was an encounter between two people who have the same characteristics. (She has brown hair and brown eyes.) I couldn’t help but wonder how she will react if next time a stranger tells her she’s huggable. What if a two-meter-tall man with beard and green eyes tries to make a conversation? Will she be able to look him in the eyes or she will be scared of his looks? By the way – so many bearded men in Berlin. It’s a trend that some of them respect with a religious rigor. But this is another story.


Couple of minutes after the train left the station, I opened my book and started reading. Many times – actually, most of the time – I have a book with me. I made a promise to myself to read at least twenty minutes per day. I wonder sometimes how my life would be without books. (We need to talk soon about Fahrenheit 451!) I like to read and although I’ve been doing this without thinking too much about it, I also read faces and gestures. I know how to read a picture and I learnt how to read a person’s heart, after I take away the vail – or, in some cases, turn down the wall. And everything is so natural for me and I know I owe it to mom. She used to read faces too, remember?


Missing you lots,

Ioana


PS: I am sending you a picture with me and Cristina. It’s from last year, when she visited me in Berlin.

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