In a far away land there is a city with hundreds of wise houses. Each house has a roof, a soul and an attic with two windows. Eyes scrutinize the birds that get back to their nests late at night, the grannies that bake homemade bread, the blatant children playing outside, the flowers raising their heads in the sun, the cats that purr in hidden corners, the dogs hiding their precious bones, the women that dream of the return of their husbands and the husbands dreaming of other women.
Every day opens a new color, a new hope, ends a life and begins others. Every evening sends to sleep all the rippled memories of the day, all the children and cats and birds and wives and husbands. Some of the grannies will sleep longer, other babies will get born out of the dreams of past nights. Some of the flowers will grow seeds, others will bloom, the stars will seem to rotate on the sky awaiting the rays of the same sun that has opened the eyes of all the children and women and cats and husbands and grannies and birds.
When morning comes the smell of coffee invades the streets. It fills up the sky and the staircases of all houses. As eyes open life vibrates, noises clash in the air, birds sing again, cats lick meticulously their paws and wash their furs with slow movements on the edge of wide open windows, dogs inspect every corner of their territory, children moan instead of waking up, wives pack lunch for their husbands, husbands go to work hoping that the day will be better that the other days. And even though life seems the same, it is always different.
In the city where houses have eyes life can still flow in unexpected patterns. Houses have eyes in Sibiu, Romania.
Intr-o tara indepartata exista un oras cu sute de case intelepte. Fiecare casa are un acoperis, un suflet si un pod cu doua ferestre. Ochi privesc cu mare atentie pasarile care se intorc la cuiburile lor noaptea, bunicile care coc paine de casa, copiii galagiosi care se joaca pe afara, florile care isi ridica frumosul cap in soare, pisicile care torc in colturi ascunse, cainii care isi ascund mult iubitele oase, femeile care viseaza cu ochii deschisi la intoarcerea barbatilor lor si barbatii care viseaza la cu totul alte femei.
Fiecare zi deschide o noua culoare, o noua speranta, sfarseste o noua viata si incepe altele. Fiecare seara trimite la culcare toate amintirile ondulate ale zilei, toti copiii si toate pisicile si toate pasarile si toate nevestele si toti barbatii. Unele bunici vor dormi mai mult, alti copii se vor naste din visele noptilor care au trecut. Unele flori vor face seminte, altele vor inflori, stelele vor parea ca se rotesc pe cer asteptand razele aceluiasi soare care a deschis ochii tuturor copiiilor si femeilor si pisicilor si barbatilor si bunicilor si pasarilor.
Cand vine dimineata aroma de cafea napadeste toate strazile. Umple cerul si casele scarilor. In timp ce ochii se deschid, viata vibreaza, zgomote se ciocnesc in aer, pasari canta din nou, pisici isi ling meticulos labele si isi spala blana cu miscari foarte tacticoase pe marginea ferestrelor larg deschise, caini inspecteaza fiecare colt al teritoriului lor, copii gem in loc sa se trezeasca, neveste impacheteaza pranzul pentru barbatii lor, barbati merg la lucru sperand ca ziua va fi mai buna decat alte zile. Si desi viata pare la fel, este mai totdeauna diferita.
In orasul in care casele au ochi viata poate inca sa se scurga in tipare cu totul neasteptate.
Casele au ochi in Sibiu, Romania.
300 words / 300 de cuvinte,
Story and Translation / Poveste si Traducere : memyselfandela / Adela Galasiu October 2013 / July 2015
You can reach from your distant world
my caged sea of dreams
and my head resting on your sands, in a thought.
Hungry eyes gaze full of unspoken stories
lost in this wind, flying, diving, jumping
in this phase of time that belongs to us.
Memories, white and blue
embrace your bones, fill up my breath
dissolving in this finest infusion of light.
Poți atinge din lumea ta îndepărtată
mare mea de vise incuiate
și capul meu rezemat pe nisipurile tale, într-un gând.
Ochi înfometați privesc plini de povești nespuse,
pierduți în acest vânt, zburand, scufundându-se, sărind
în această fază a timpului care ne aparține.
Amintiri, albe și albastre,
îmbrățișeaza oasele tale, umplu respirația mea
dizolvandu-se în aceasta minunata infuzie de lumină.
63 words, memyselfandela/ Adela Galasiu June 2014
Photo: Adela Galasiu, May 2014
In a far away land lost in depths of time
Owning handwritten books was a golden mine.
In a far away castle on a God forgotten shore
Ruled a very cruel master who wanted ever more.
So he forced all his scribes to work hard day and night
Never caring if poor people might have even died
Asking them to decipher and to write from pain
With the ink and the feather and the blood in their vein.
Any minor mistake was so dreadfully punished
That in short term of time most his scribes simply vanished,
And when having all books he still asked for a last
Threatening all with cruel tortures from past.
As his time to die suddenly next day came
He just then understood that it was all in vein
With his last breath holding his most precious book
An incredible guest by surprise him just took
For no matter how strong he has been, he saw that
The last word was not his, but belonged to the cat.
Come dance on countless whispers, in the pure atmosphere
High above, beyond all worries.
The same lonesome trumpet illuminates my night
Come float with me beyond all words.
I won’t forget you, weary soul
In this dimension where we found each other.
If I would turn the distance in a golden thread
It would lead me far away to the moon.
Our clay existence, the cage of our bodies are nothing
In this realm where our deepest thoughts ignite.
Sleepless nights sublimated in the dark shadow under your loving eyes
Will never ever keep you from floating in the air.
100 words, memyselfandela, November 2013
Photos: memyselfandela, November 2013
He was sitting on by the water in Mexico when it hit him how much he hated himself. Which kind of sucked. Because he should have been happy. He should have been ecstatic. After years of struggle and poverty and horrible physical pain (getting almost killed by a semi truck sucks too…) he finally had it. He finally had everything he ever thought he wanted. He was 30 years old, in good shape, good friends, professional success, fun toys, plenty of free time . . . Even better he was one of only three guys on a yoga retreat and was spending his days stretching and snorkeling and chugging margaritas with a bevy of beautiful, intelligent, passionate (and flexible) women.
He should have been happy. He should have been doing a victory lap around the mess that was his twenties and screaming to the moon about how he finally made it past childhood trauma and adulthood disappointment to become a “success.”
But he just couldn’t do it.
Nope. Instead of being happy, he was damn miserable. Angry. Emotionally nauseous and, worse yet, viciously angry at himself for not waking up to how good he had it.
One night he found himself sitting on the shore alone watching the waves come in. Everyone else had gone on to a bar to order large amounts of drinks in broken Spanish, but the bile in his throat and the voice in the back of his head wanted him to be alone. Alone and vulnerable.
It was pitch black but for the shine of the moon off the water and all he could feel was the pathetic bottle in his hand, the drink in his gut and the tension in his jaw threatening to break his teeth.
He wasn’t man enough to admit it, but he had tears in his eyes.
“Why?” he thought to himself in a silent whisper. “What the hell is wrong with me? Why can’t I just enjoy this?”
It was a rhetorical question, so he was pretty shocked when he got an answer. It came in a voice as dark as tar and as toxic as venom.
“Because you don’t deserve it,” the voice in the back of his head grumbled. “Because you’re evil and dangerous and anyone foolish enough to love you deserves to be harmed.”
He closed his eyes and could finally see it: what he really thought of himself. Not a man or even a boy, but a creature with claws and teeth and a cruel, cruel grin. A creature who’s only glee came from clawing at his heart and pulling him down and reminding him to never, ever feel even one moment of happiness.
He flew home a few days later feeling like he’d gotten into a duel with Godzilla and damn it, bloody Godzilla won. The entire time on the plane home his brain stormed and he counted down the hours until he could go see his therapist.
“How are you?,” she asked as he walked in, her eyes half squinting as she searched his face.
For an hour he let the words flow out like a dying breathe, rambling at Speedy-Gonzalez-pace, desperate to get every hatred and criticism and imagined crime out of his heart and into the world. Finally, after minutes that felt like days he looked his therapist in the eyes and said:
“I’m so sick and tired of hating myself , beating myself up , punishing everyone around me … I’m wondering what would happen if I just decided to stop and actually LIKE myself for a little while instead.”
The therapist looked at him with kind eyes and a half smile and said “Well, that would be interesting, wouldn’t it?”
And so he did.
Right then and there he decided to try liking himself – maybe even loving himself – for a while.
And at first the creature in his head and his heart raged like a angry lion and dragged its claws against the inside of his skull.
But instead of arguing he did something kind of weird.
He pointed and laughed. He dressed it up in silly shoes and ugly makeup and mocked it . And suddenly a weird thing happened: he felt this glowing freedom rising in his chest and this crazy, irrational smile pulling hard at the corners of his mouth.
Suddenly he felt . . . happy. Ecstatic.
For the next two weeks he walked around on a love-high. His friends asked him what the heck had happened. His enemies got confused when he was actually nice to them. And that beast in the back of his brain shrunk and shriveled and cried.
Of course, it wasn’t exactly as easy as that, for every time he would fail or feel ashamed about something or feel like some woman was getting close he would feel that creature rise up. He would feel that bile on his tongue.
But now . . . years later . . . here he is with nothing to hide.
And years and years of anger and pain turned into . . . something simpler. Nicer. More wonderful. He’s not into the “woo woo” stuff a lot of his friends are, but he is into this one simple fact:
“Happiness is a choice. Liking yourself / loving yourself is something YOU choose to do, no one can make you miserable or happy but YOU.”
900 words, memyselfandela, November 2013
He had no mercy at all for other sea creatures, not even for his own family, he was only interested in power and himself. Never in his life he gave a second thought about killing another or about showing some feelings and this was the only life he has ever known. All known about him was the countless number of his murders and all were afraid of the day when he was to become a king.
After many years of waiting in line for the throne his dream has finally come true when his father was killed. And so he became king and nobody dared to get close to him, everybody obeyed him in fear.
One night, while chasing a female he liked in the blue shining waters lit by the full moon, the king saw from a distance a skinny creature. It was a human being swimming. It was an old man diving there in the hope to find the shipwreck of a boat that sank long time ago, hiding in the watery tomb the bones of his beloved father.
As the old man was frenetically searching on the bottom of the sea using his special torch, he was concentrating only on the pieces scattered on the bottom of the sea. He was much too absorbed by the search to still be able to observe the huge shadow approaching him.
Nobody could have seen but the old man had the eyes full of tears as he finally found what seemed to be the remains of the long lost boat. And he was crying as he missed his father and he wanted to say goodbye, because only a child knows the longing and emptiness caused by the disappearance of a beloved parent.
Angry that the human dared to pass his way and venture in his kingdom, especially in that special night when he was mating, the manta ray got close to the old man. He was so very close that he could feel the energy of the old man’s beating heart. Understanding that this was the core that was keeping the frail human alive, the manta ray stung him straight in the heart with his 10 inches long barb in a split of a second filled with rage. The sharp dagger has found its path in the heart of the man that didn’t see what hit him from behind.
The seconds that followed were filled with silence. The manta was angry that his world has been disturbed by a filthy human. The old man turned and finally understood what had happened. Knowing that these were his final moments he wished the manta ray to live also without what he loved the most. As the waters turned red around the dying man, he fell on the bottom of the sea, his last glimpse at the found boat, his heart filled with sadness for not being able to embrace his father one last time. His eyes slowly closed on this life as a cloud gloomily covered the full moon.
The very next day, as the king swam serene, a huge fishing net caught him and there was no more escape. He fought his way out but the net was too strong for him to be able to break it. Sharing the same fear like many other sea creatures, the manta ray found himself laying powerless on the dirty deck of an old fishing ship surrounded by a loud crowd of men, all laughing and making bets on what will be sold for a better price. Other mantas were captive too, and of all the king tried the most to kill again, but the hand of a human with a knife as sharp of a sword has cut his barb and left him hopeless.
Many stories ran through his mind. Old stories of humans being afraid of the sea monsters, of their quiet approach, of their majestic presence. Old stories heard from his father and from the father of his father. Old stories telling how stupid humans were, how weak and vulnerable in the depths of the endless sea. Laying on the sand in the dying light of the day, the manta ray king faced the same death like others, butchered into pieces and sold to a leather handler who made the best out of his skin.
Every little piece was wisely prepared just to be sold on the market for luxury materials.
And so the king’s skin was cut into 10 pieces, as many as the years when the old man has been searching for the boat of his father. One piece was sold to a tattoo artist, who used it to cover his tools with a special skin. Other two pieces were sold to a designer who created a belt and a purse for the same cinema star, a gorgeous blonde famous not only for her movies, but also for her love affair with a president.
Two pieces were sold to an Arabian shah who asked his people to make a sheath and cover the handle of his favorite dagger. Three pieces have become three famous wallets given as a present to the three finalists of a Formula 1 contest after sharing with the public a champagne bath. And the last two pieces, the very best, were sold to an exclusive shoe designer who cut them into shape and transformed them into a unique pair of custom made shoes for a modern king, ruling over an empire where the sun never sets. And so, the manta ray king got what he wished for, he was closer to power than ever before. So insanely close, but as it has been wished by the sad dying man, never having the chance to ever embrace it himself again.
Childhood. Life seemed to be the easiest thing,with endless possibilities like the countless shades of color trapped in his iris that curiously expanded at the sight of all the marvels around him. Time had millions of tunes, millions of facets, millions of open doors for the brave heart of a young boy seeking for answers and treasures that he suspected all kept intentionally away from him. Roaming through the immensity surrounding him the days were unveiling more and more mysteries created just to fill up his thirsty mind. Life was his, life was beautiful and full of hope and wonder.
Maturity. Many of his old childish questions have been answered, yet this did not manage to satisfy his mind and soul. He was convinced that life is more and that asking the right question might bring him the answer that owned the whole universe. In the middle of his existence time meant more, as he realized that he had already wasted too much of it. Life was carved according to his own choices and hesitations and remained a force he was still fighting with while holding on to the few impossible crazy dreams he never gave up on his way.
Old age. As it conquered his being he felt how he had lost most of the battles. He felt alone and misunderstood for years till one morning when, while sipping his coffee, he had the epiphany of his own fleeting existence. With wide open eyes and with life still flowing through his veins he understood that he meant nothing on his own but an instant, a little wheel in a huge mechanism, a second in which the whole universe was glimpsing at his own image trying to photograph the experience lived in a form of life not yet tried before.
300 words, memyselfandela, September 2013