Excerpt 4 (Pine Trees Break, They Do Not Bend, Volume II, page 195)

brazii-se-frang-dar-nu-se-indoiesc-ogoranu-2

Banat Roads

Since the very start, whenever I traveled by night I used to have a rod with me – I carried it as if it were a gun, and it made me feel safe and daring, just as I felt when I was in the mountains. And I also felt as if I were not alone. I had the impression that someone was accompanying me, and that someone was Fileru. I would sometimes stop, as if I were waiting for him. At times I would find myself talking and asking for advice, as if he could have helped me decide which way to take when at crossroads.

One of my former university colleagues once asked me how I succeeded to live alone all those years without going crazy. I did not give him a straight answer, as he would not have understood. I have never been alone. We who lived in the mountains have our souls entangled in such a way that no separation is possible between me and them, between those alive and those who are dead. One by one or all at once I can sense Baciu’s irrepressible impetus, the child-like, crystal clear laughter of his brother, Ghiţă, Leu’s silent perseverance and his concern for everybody’s satisfaction, Gheorghe Şovăială’s gift for making fun of misfortune and story telling, the Professor’s wise, grandfatherly affection, Brâncoveanu’s maiden shyness, the self-ironic smile of Gilu Radeş, the thirst for perfection and poetry of Porâmbu, Gelu’s wise and thoughtful words followed by deep silence, Ilioi’s contradictory arguments, Fileru’s reasoning ripe with achievable paradoxes, the seriousness and meticulous concern of Nelu Novac for work well done and beauty at the same time, Victor Metea’s steady faith in our fight and the unforgettable faces of so many people who got involved in our battle of life and death against communism. I live in a world of shadows as if it were real, more real than the present, tangible world that unfolds in front of me, or can this also be some form of madness?….

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