Chapter 1 Who am I
Once when I was a child, I got a bag of ripe, sweet cherries. I immediately started to eat them, without so much of bothering to wash them. I devoured each one and leisurely spat pits as I ate. I ate almost half a kilo until I opened one by hands, just out of boredom, because I was already somewhat satisfied. Then I discovered that each single sweet fruit had a small whitish worm inside. Although I have previously eaten dozens of cherries, I suddenly lost a desire to eat even one more.
I live in Slatina, distant and lone village, for more than twelve years, but I am still not fully accustomed to the rural way of life. Switching from the city child used to late nights out, supermarkets and shopping malls, constant screaming of city noise and office work, to a peaceful life in a modest farmhouse can take years, probably decades. I haven’t still managed to curb urban child in me. Still, sometimes I get the urge to spruce up for the evening, splash my face with make-up like I am going to act in the Japanese theater, and wear my sluttiest pieces of clothing. Masked like that, I would go looking for some good piece of meat, which was usually standing half naked in some smoke-filled disco. Sometimes I feel nostalgic for safe, comfortable, office work in State companies, where very little work is done, but money is good. At night silence bothers me. It amazes me that even after twelve years, I have not been able to get used to the lack of human-made noise, absence of people around me, people everywhere closely around me. I miss a feeling of not being alone even if you feel lonely, even if you do not see anyone nearby . Growling engines on the roads, chairs scraping the floors somewhere and slamming steps from the apartment above mine, shouts from the street and from the hallway of the building… All those sounds telling me “you’re not really alone.” It tells me that people around me, humanity is around me. You know, it was a nice feeling, a feeling that you’re not really alone, even if you are.
Did you notice how many horror films begin in some deserted area, somewhere behind God’s back, somewhere where there are no other people except the main characters and possibly a killer? Notice how many horror movies begin with a group of young people who went on a trip to a place where they hope that nobody would disturb them, and not a soul around? Abandoned, quiet town is a place where terrible things happen. I can attest that it isn’t so. Terrible things happen also in the middle of a large city, in suburbs, or urban areas. The horrors are happening in front of people who do not want to notice it, as it is easier not to see what was next to them and around them if that is something horrible. When you are screaming in someone’s face and that someone is checking the messages on cell phone, it’s more horrifying than screaming when no one is around.
I got up from bed at five o’clock in the morning, went to feed chickens and water the garden, then to hoe some plants. I like to work with vegetables and fruits. Not so much with chickens, because their naive trust in people depresses me. All scruffy and in sweats, still groggy from sleep, I was wandering around rows of onion and lettuce. They look nice arranged in straight rows. During the first months of my arrival in this village, I used to have vivid fantasies about good-looking village boys and their abs, their smell and wild sex with them. Such fantasies are long gone. I don’t even think about how I look, use the mirror only to brush my teeth and comb my hair. I laugh at myself imagining how it would be if city-me would meet this horrifying, neglected, rural, older version of me and how city-me would hate what I see. I stick my hands in the soil, grabbing between earthworms and roaches. The sun has not risen yet.
A long time ago, I was young woman who smoked a pack of expensive cigarettes a day, drank whiskey and best foreign beer. I wore silk thongs and short skirts, and I could put on make up so skillfully, that I looked like movie star. I used to sneak out of some stranger’s apartment early in the morning, wanting only a hot shower to rinse a strange smell from my body and to forget that night. And soon, I would did it all again, with some other person. Each night, other body smell, other skin, hair, some other body movements, different habits. There is something strangely comforting in habits, as you always know what to expect and surprises are rarely encountered. Just because of that, I never let myself relax and indulge in routine and predictable schedule. Once the chain of habits is broken, for whatever reason, and that always happens, it’s terribly painful. I’ve learned that at young age and therefore I’ve never allowed myself to get used to anyone or anything. Our habits control us and each change causes frustration. I used to change my lovers as soon as I began remembering the smell of them, as soon as I began expecting the meeting with them, as soon as I knew when it will happen and how it will look like. As soon as I realized that I knew unique map of his or hers body. I used to change apartments as soon as I would get tired of the walls, and when the look out the window would remain same for too long. I tried not to have any habits, never to make plans, never to expect anything from people and situations. It was almost a sure way to be protected from pain.
Oddly enough, even though I was the epitome of unreliable and selfish person, people liked me. Maybe that attitude which shows that you don’t care about anyone or anyone’s opinion except your own gives to other people a deceptive sense that you must have valid reason for superior, selfish, royal behavior. If you are self-conscious, quiet and take care of other people’s emotions and needs, people think that you are inferior to them, they think of you as their doormat because you are presenting yourself as inferior to them. And that also I learned very early on, in hard way.