Little Life Stories

2. Find Me a Title for a Story That Never Ends

Who did I meet? Too few. Too many, I could say now. 

Trifu, for example. 

You won’t learn the history of Banat from me, I told you where I am. 

I met Trifu in Uzdin, a Romanian village in Serbia. 

What do I know, what can I do? I can only take a glimpse at Trifu’s 83 years. 

The words hang on the cord of a public telephone receiver. Who will pick up and who will listen to me? Who wants to listen, to read, to comprehend and enjoy encounters, however small, however inconsequential anymore? 

We were young before we were old, Trifu tells me. 

I am stepping on foreign—but oh, so familiar—land. I feel I belong here. Identity. Who am I, can I belong to a community still searching for its identity?

Naïve painting is a way of painting without thinking. 

I am ripe with old age. This sentence follows me. 

I sit with my thoughts and wait. I wait as if in a train station, for a train to take me to a story. I take in images and personal histories here in Covăcița, Uzdin, Țîripaia, as if I were looking out a train window. I can’t take my eyes off it. 

I am in Serbia, in Banat, I am with my people. I don’t know why I keep repeating this to you. 

I audio-recorded the people here, their memories and lives so far. I tried to listen to them again back home, to find a place in Timisoara where I could transcribe the material. I couldn’t. I stumbled against my everyday life, it seemed to take me out of context. I came back and hid in the corner of a cafe and restaurant, Story of Time. Nothing is random here, why would the name of the place be any different? In the morning, the bartender and the chef were Slovaks, communicating in Slovak. Another Serbian colleague came to work, now they speak Serbian and laugh just as well.

Photo credit: Mircea Sorin Albuțiu

English translation: Cristina Chira