How can we walk through the rain without sinking in the mud, without drowning in the asphalt and without going up and down like the drops of rain breaking on the ground? Allow me to become a stone and grant me one day to look at the world from below. What do I see? I wanted to run to you and even though I knew you had a million faces I couldn’t touch any of them. I had no feet to walk, no lungs to breathe and no hands to touch the world…In my humble stoned condition I could only watch from the ground…A car ran me over but it did not hurt, a child threw me in the sea but I did not drown as the waves brought me back and introduced me to a family of shells until a woman took me home to a village in the mountains as a souvenir from a far away place.
I had a lot of time to watch the sun rise, to see her working in the garden, feeding the animals in the barn, cooking, washing her body and dressing for church on Sunday morning, drinking a hot coffee on cold winter days, putting coloured summer flowers in her hair, watching the autumn rain from the small window of the small house that she paints in light blue every spring.
Living with her meant giving life a different rhythm and understanding the simple things that I forgot to think of, while getting lost on the crowded boulevards of a far away city. But I was stoned on the shelf and could not touch her words, live her life, wipe away her tears and explain to her why there are so many wars, so much hunger and sadness outside the little courtyard, which describes the only universe that is familiar to her existence.
Death came to visit every night, but she was guarded by so much life that it could not touch her. But she felt it and I’ve seen it. She fought with death in a different way than most people do, by opening her soul to it and by defeating it with pureness and with the desire to live and see more. And even though she didn’t travel at all she’s been everywhere seeing the big whales in the ocean, visiting romantic metropolitan boulevards in the evening, going to classic music Christmas Concerts in Vienna or rowing a wooden boat in the Danube Delta.
She visited all these places through the books and the stories of people that lived in her little house at some point. When I last saw her, she was going to Berlin or to have a beer in Bavaria…or maybe both, as a guy from Berlin was telling her about the East and West Germany, about cities, industry, communism and the life of simple people, while drinking a coffee in her kitchen on a rainy winter day.
He had travelled a lot and saw things in his own personal way while moving from one place to another in search of a place of his own. When he left, she cried and gave him the little stone from the shelf as a present. He hugged her and promised to come back one day…maybe on a summer day when everything is covered in green grass and different coloured flowers.
And this is how I got to his temporary flat in the big city, being covered in dust and watching the changing colour of the blocks while the sun is making rounds in the sky. I saw everything that a young man does and I realised what different lives people are living. But even though people are defined by these enormous gaps in time, space, culture, education and even dreams, there are things that bring them together at some point.
One day, while writing something on the computer he took me from the shelf and kept me in his hands. The phone rang and in some minutes I was thrown in a pocket and the next thing I remember is falling on an empty pack of cigarettes.
The first thing I saw was a big fire and a lot of people warming up in the dark night. Through the rays of light I saw my friend shaking hands with a guy, and thisis when I first met Florin.
He lives in one of the poorest neighbourhoods of the capital city, in one of the five blocks of flats where the outcasts of the capitalist society fight for a roof over their heads. Here they have no drinking water, no electricity, no beds to sleep in, no access to a decent life but a lot of power to fight for survival and to hope that something will change for them one day.
Florin is different from the other people. He used to have a decent flat and a family, but he had lost everything and started his life again from zero. Unlike the majority of his neighbours he has a job and the opportunity to think about the life of the others. He believes in the power of the little changes and tries his best to collect information and material goods for improving the life of the poor people. In this ghetto he represents a stabile pillar, a bridge between two worlds and an enormous chance of a better future for the ones around him. He never said that life is unfair and he never complained about his condition as he is covered in hope and believes that, in essence, power belongs to the little people that one day will break the sealed doors of their condition and gain access to a much fair world.
For all these people* every day is a fight for life. Death is always defeated and even though their universes of existence are different, the worlds in which they live collide and create a common battlefield for a change that will affect every one of them in a different way…
*All the characters and the stories are real
Text by: Simina Guga
Pictures by: Aljoscha, Stefan and Simina