Published in / Opublikowane w: Exiled Ink E-Magazine
Date of publication / Data publikacji: Issue 1, 2018
ROLL OF THE DICE
It was with perfect clarity that she remembered the first time when she actually thought she could stay here (though she never let herself or anybody else use the expression “forever”. That was definitely too acrid for her taste). She was sitting in a taxi on her way home after a long night of clubbing. It must have been around 4 am. It was early spring, a quiet, beautiful night flooded with lights. She was in love without knowing it yet. The idea of staying here was so striking, the thought so new, that she went absolutely speechless in her head. She really and truly did not expect it to happen. She did not see it coming and suddenly it was there. An absolutely clear thought, perfectly defined to the smallest details. She felt badly hit by it and eternally peaceful at the same time. It was like meeting a speeding truck in the middle of an empty road. Suddenly it is there. Lethal. Peace-making. Suddenly everything was possible and everything so easy. Before she could even raise the question about the future, the answer popped up in her head. Of course she did not have to go along with this idea, she could still decide to go back to her old country. And that was the beauty of the situation. She was given an answer without asking for it and yet she felt that her free will was not questioned, she could do whatever she wanted and not feel guilty, whatever she decided to do. And she knew. She knew she would not go back.
She was permanently stretched, at least between her two points on earth. It felt a bit like treachery. It was a new feeling. And there was nothing she could do about it, even if she wanted to. There was no turning back, it had already happened and could not un-happen. She was stuck in the in-between, in this tragic realm of duplicity that sometimes equalled nothingness, a vacuum, and sometimes – a horrifying, stifling, noisy crowdedness. The only imaginable cure was amnesia, and that you cannot easily get over the counter in your local corner shop.
Her feet got itchy again. She started thinking of moving, packing, starting afresh somewhere again, somewhere new, unknown, far away. But that – thus far – remained just an idea, and only half-hatched. Not even a dream yet.
She thought about it all the time now. It wasn’t a dream though. It wasn’t her itchy feet. For the first time in her life she was thinking of moving not because of the excitement of leaving and starting anew, but because she felt forced. Fear, discomfort, a sudden explosion of ugliness around her, conflicted emotions, fear… She came to accept the fact that she would always remain a stranger here. She could live with people always mispronouncing her name, turning it into something unrecognizable even to her. That was fine. But suddenly, one fine June day, this new country, which she thought was becoming more and more hers as time went by, turned its Janus’s face and became stranger than ever. Fearing to speak her native tongue when out and about? People not looking each other in the eye? Civil servants voluntarily suggesting she should change her name to something sounding more local? Or that she should work on her accent so that she could pretend to be from here? Passive-aggressive hostility suddenly so apparent in all those “kind”, well-mannered elderly ladies you sit next to on the bus?
What exactly happened the night this Dr Jekyll of the nation turned into a Mr Hyde?
But going back to her old country was not an option, never an option, and especially not now. She was from nowhere. She was from everywhere. All she needed to do was roll the dice…