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Lia Bugnar: Manuscript Woman

Translated by: Lia Bugnar

ISBN: 973-7893-27-1
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The Woman:

I've always thought I'm meant for a very special destiny. And when I say "special" you need not feel offended: "another one who thinks she's different from everybody else...". I'm not talking about a destiny different from yours, but about a destiny that's different even from mine. I've always had the strange feeling that I'm waited for somewhere else. Even now, at my age - and please be so kind as not to ask me to confess it to you - I'm still convinced that a mix up took place at my birth and so I got to the house of those two people who insisted for a long time that I should call them "mother" and "father". They were very good people, of a simplicity that could only be compared to a drizzle... Don't smile, you'll get used to my comparisons! My comparisons are comparable only to a swan looking for a scarf that, obviously, it will never find...

My childhood? "The most bland", "the most insipid" are expressions that could not describe it exactly. So I'm forced to resort to one of my incomparable comparison: a childhood comparable only to the interest you could see in the eyes of a cow that has been grazing for an hour and a half. The only thing that's worth knowing is how I put an end, at the age of eleven and a half, to this uselessness that was my childhood.

If you want to start a new life, all you have to do is get on the right train.

Train... train... the music of the train's wheels... comparable to what? Oh yes, I know... with the shortness of breath of a man that tells you he loves you knowing that you'll never be his... (A noise made by a train is heard). The hand of the ticket inspector clenched on the collar of my coat... going from one compartment to another: "Does anyone know this girl?"

Train compartments! There's nothing more beautiful! They are so transient! "This is my seat!", we use to say with candor, knowing that in a few hours or a day, we would leave that place and we would perhaps never see it again! But, until than, the compartment absorbed our smells, served as host for our belongings and heard our most fascinating stories.

"Does anyone know this girl?"

Lace, chocolate boxes, trunks filled with the most beautiful things... we always take our best things along in a voyage... In one of these compartments there's a seat for me, my place...

"Does anyone know this girl?"

When you reach your seat, you recognize it instantly! And then, all there's left for you to do is to let the tears, that you already got handy to fill your eyes in need ever since you got in the train, flow...

Victor! Who could describe Victor's elegance? Nobody, except me, of course. Although tall, thin and handsome, Victor's elegance could only be compared to that of a piano in the very moment a hand takes up its top letting the keys smile.

"You're a bully, Mister. Can't you se how scared this child is?"

"Is she with you?"

"You haven't got the right to treat a helpless creature like this!"

"I'm sorry, sir, but if nobody buys her a ticket until the next stop, I'm going to hand her over to the police..."

Victor bought me a ticket for a new life. He couldn't let the little runaway girl go back to the miserable orphanage...

The next four years were not interesting at all. I got an education and I found out I have talents that I already knew I possessed. Music, dance, drawing, literature... The people who took care of me were the most insipid, tedious and useless people I've ever met... Of course, they had wonderful knowledge, but they were merely containers not at all in harmony with their content. As if you were to drink champagne from a clay pot.

The image of the helpless girl from the train must have stayed in Victors mind over these four years, because he never forget to sent money for my education.

I presumed I was beautiful. But it was only in Victor's eyes that I saw how beautiful I was. "The look of a sinful angel". The words are not mine, though I would've liked to think of them myself. Victor called me like this: "The look of a sinful angel." It took me three days of my life to make Victor forget about his conscience that was telling him I was three times younger than he was, and that he shouldn't take advantage of the fact that my fate was completely in his hands.

Victor could have done anything in this world, and everything he did turned out wonderfully. The paradox was that he had so much money, so that the only thing left for him to do was spend it. But he did this as naturally and easily as a leaf floating in the wind. It floats smoothly, it comes down, it rolls over and flies away, each time differently.... seeking another place...

My education became complete only after Victor thought me to make love. It took me longer to learn than the boring knowledge I had acquired during the boring private boarding school years. When it came to love, Victor was like an encyclopedia. He used to say that I was a natural, and I'm inclined to think he was right. But he was more than that. If I was like a violin playing wonderful music touched by an artist's bow, Victor was music itself.

When I left him after seven years, I was surprised to see that all I had learnt from him was of no use for me anymore, because the other men needed infinitely less. The infinity of nuances I knew how to put in an embrace became an annoying ballast, which I didn't find that easy to get rid of.

"Come on, Mister, let me tell your fortune, let me tell you how many children you'll have with the princess you have with you".

"I won't have any, because the princess doesn't want children".

"Oh, Mister, somebody evil must have cursed you. Give me some money, and I'll make the curse go away. She'll make you a handsome boy like you".

"Take this money and leave us alone. We're happy as we are".

And it was true. Victor and I were happy. For him, it was the last day of happiness; I was told that he shot himself a year after I left him. For me, it was the beginning of a new happiness.

The Gipsy tribe I left with was made up of nine men, fifteen women and countless kids whose name I was never able to remember, although I lived with them for four years.

Kajar was the most powerful and desired gipsy in the tribe, so I was looked upon by the gipsy women like a disaster coming out of the blue, inexplicable to them with all the fortune telling gift they claim to possess.

Nuria, the fortune teller who was so decided to take Victor's money, did not notice how Kajar, a few steps away, looked at me. Only once. This look spread all over my body, in all directions, and it took me four years to get rid of it.

The other gypsies were bewildered when I made my apparition in their camp, at night, with three trunks and two hat boxes, I took only the bare essentials, but to Kajar everything seemed natural, so he took my hand and lead me to his tent. He threw Nuria a short dark look, and he gathered her things and left in a hurry.

All night, her yells, accompanied by the barking of all the dogs in the camp, were the echo of the clenching between Kajar and I.

The gipsy women, without any exception, hated me. For a while I managed to get by in the camp by selling my things, one by one, but eventually I had to pinch things in the cities, to steal hens and to tell the fortune of some people, I, who were every moment more and more surprised of my present. But I managed to do everything very easily, especially the fortune telling stuff, where no one could beat me. These "professional successes" of mine didn't stop Kajar from beating me savagely. But such beating were useful for all of us: to him, they were a confirmation of the fact that I belonged to him, to me, they reminded who was the master, and to the gypsies, they showed how much we loved each other. When I stood up from the ground staggering, I saw the envious eyes of the gipsy women. Nuria never forgave me.

"Kajar, we've gone too far away. We won't be able to go back."

"Don't be afraid. We can go as far as we want. Do you want to stop?"

"No, don't stop".

Kajar's hand's on my colorless skin... his eyes boring through my body... the miracle of escaping from ourselves, from the camp, from this world... the places I saw during my "Kajarian" nights...

"Kajar, don't let go of me!"

"What are you afraid of?"

"I'm afraid of falling! I'm not sure if we're swimming or flying!"


"Kajar, you've been here before..."


"Then maybe I've been... here... before... it looks so familiar and... unknown..."

"All that's happening to us... is you... And, if you want, nobody will ever find us..."

"Let's go back, Kajar..."

And we would go back, because I wanted so...

Eventually, Nuria got her revenge. It didn't take her long to realize that I was as shrewd as she was. So, after a while, she gave up her plan to disfigure me with boiled water... to burn my insides with poisons only she knew to concoct, or other things like that... I did the same mistake she had done. I turned away my eyes from Kajar for a minute. Long time after I left him I kept wondering what could Nuria have done to him, to turn him from Kajar into an ordinary man.

That night, Kajar did something to me, something that maybe all the gypsies did during their nights. He climbed on top of me... I heard my bones cracking under his weight... and started an absurd, painful coming and going movement... A sour smell overwhelmed me... God, had this man ever washed?

Fortunately, the torture lasted only for a few minutes... Since that night, all I could here were Kajar's noisy snoring and Nuria's laughter coming from outside.

The next day, when they saw I had disappeared without trace, Nuria was probably the only one who was not surprised.

The art and antique store where I took a job as a salesgirl was located in a small town whose name is not important.

Sebastian owned the store, which made him a relatively wealthy man. He was also handsome and young, so he was chased by all unmarried women in the area.

It was love and pity at first sight. He fell in love with me, and I pitied him. These two feelings grew in direct proportion. The more I pitied him, the more he loved me. If I had said "yes", Sebastian and all the objects in the store would have belonged to me.

"This man would die soon," I thought as soon as I saw him.

"You're going to die soon. If there's something you want to do, you'd better hurry. You don't have a lot of time left... "

"What a weird thing to say... But I can't be angry with you..."


"Because I love you."

"How much?"

"As much as I love life."

"In your case, this doesn't mean much."

"Then marry me! You can't refuse a dying man wish..."

"You're not a dying man. You just don't have a whole lot left. And I don't love you."

"You will! Let's get married!"

I wouldn't have married a man I didn't love if I didn't knew it was going to be a short marriage. And we all have the right to a last wish.

Ironically, Sebastian wasted his time planning the future. I didn't pity him because he was going to die, but because he was incapable to live in the present. All his verbs were at the future tense: "we'll be happy, you'll see!"; "I'll be very rich "; "we'll travel all over the world!" He lived his present life as if it were a transition period. His life was like a hallway that nobody notices in their hurry to get to the sumptuous room it leads to.

I'll be silent about Sebastian's lovemaking because, as he used to assure me after each erotic episode, I was to see next time what an accomplished lover he was to become. "It will be better soon... all our senses are going to explode!"

As any person with grand future plans, Sebastian had a stupid death. He chocked to death on an olive stone that went down the wrong side of his throat while he was saying: "In three days, you're going to be very proud of me... I won't tell you anything about it yet... It's going to be a great surprise... "

After three days, I buried him.

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