Back To The Roots
Here I am, sitting on a wobbly chair, my nails all dirty from working in the garden, grandma’s huge dog snoring at my feet, a glass of homemade white wine on my right. I am typing. This wine is very very strong, so I am not really responsible for how sane I will sound toward the end of this post.
The fact is, I love this time of the day. It is 3 pm, grandma, aunt, and ma are sleeping. Afternoon nap. We have eaten that terribly unhealthy country food, full of cholesterol, but so delicious that it almost makes me cry: grandma’s beans, Romanian sarmale, spring onion and cucumber right out of the garden.
I pause for dramatic effect and hear a carriage on the street. The neighbour calls on his daughter. No answer. I look around, everything is silent. It’s pretty boring, actually. How can people sleep when there are so many exciting things to do? Grandpa made me a swing, a rope and a piece of wood to sit on. It looks very inviting now. It’s hot so I go over there and give myself a push. The swing goes back and forth, from the shadow of the granary to the sun of the yard, the light almost blinds me, but I go on because the slight breeze cools me.
Suddenly the hens go nuts. One of them must have laid an egg so they all celebrate. Finally, something happens. I watch them. Stupid hens. Then they stop. I push myself on the swing again and sing. One song after another, there are plenty I know from camp. Oh, camp! It was so cool. Nobody had naps at noon. There was always something to do. Playing pranks on the boys, water fights. Those were the good times. Why have my parents sent me to this godforsaken place where nothing ever happens? Just trains passing by in the distance, marking precise times of the day.
Suddenly the dog wakes up and I hear grandpa talking to him.
“What are you doing here? It’s hot, you stupid animal, go in the shadow.”
The gate opens and he moves in the backyard where I sing and swing.
“Haven’t you slept?”
“No, grandpa, I am not sleepy. I am bored.”
“Bored? Don’t you like the swing?”
“I do, but it’s lonely.”
He stops and looks at me smiling.
“Damn, girl, you so ugly. Whose are you? You are definitely not my kind.”
“Cummon, grandpa, you know I am your niece.”
“Have I ever beaten you?”
“No, grandpa, you never have.”
“Oh, man! Just you wait! I will!”
He comes over and gives me a push in the swing. I giggle. He then moves on to the cow, hands her a piece of bread from his pocket and talks to her, petting her neck. Viorica, the cow, is part of the family. She is rather short, smokey brown with weird looking horns. That is her mark. That and the short legs which make her slower than others.
“Common you, it’s hot for you as well, isn’t it? Are you hungry? We will soon go on the field. Prepare yourself. I know you are slower than other cows, but you have to try and keep up. Otherwise, you will be left behind and they will eat all the good grass. We don’t want that, do we?”
“Do you want some coffee?”
“Just a bit for me.”
Grandma is awake and she makes coffee. Every day, before the afternoon starts, that is their ritual. They drink it on the patio, talking about what is there to be done and how to do it.
A truck passes by on the street. It honks loudly. The dog still snores at my feet, the wine has gotten warm. My cigarette has smoked itself to the bud. Grandma, aunt, and ma are still in bed. It’s only 3:30 pm. Everything is silent, except for the stupid hens and some flies I hear buzzing here and there. Grandpa is on the hill, buried for over 18 years. The place has changed a lot during this time, but it feels the same.