Friday afternoon, 2007 – Boris Greiner
– I have your number. I’ll call you but it sure won’t be done before two.
– In two hours or at two o’clock?
– At, at two.
At exactly 9 a.m. I go out of Barbić’s – the car mechanic’s shop. This wasn’t what I had expected. Maybe half an hour…an hour at the most…Suddenly, a kid’s song starts playing in my head…Noddy, make way for Noddy, he’s driving in his car…But it takes two hours to my house without a car, and then two hours back again…Nonsense.
Immediately upon stepping into the street, on my way to the bus stop, I slowed down my pace. I first peered into one courtyard, then into theother; It wouldn’t a tragedy if I, for example, missed the bus. Sometimes I have a feeling that when I’m going somewhere, wherever that might be, that I’m going somewhere important or alluring, while the people I meet on my way don’t have anywhere to go, so I feel a bit sorry for them, I even sympathize with them. I’m going, can’t you hear the noise? It’s the earth shattering beneath me. From its center, a lake emerges. An inner sea is forming. There’s an island in the middle; on the island, there’s a hill. It’s morning on the hill. It’s honking? I’m going there; it’s honking to me, or that’show I feel. And those poor souls have nothing. Putting one foot in front of the other, leaving empty footprints behind.
Maybe someone will call.
It’s highly unlikely that Barbić will call at exactly two o’clock. One thing is for sure, he won’t call earlier than that.
I should feel free: spread my arms, raise my head towards the clouds and allow the morning to run through me, to wash my face and flow down my back, to my legs and shoes, and the shoes should feel the pavement beneath and go, without informing me about their plans.
Everybody is eager to be given some free time. They fantasize about walking around in a deserted morning, when they have no commitments clouding their vision, so they start noticing the silhouettes dusting off carpets from their balconies, a shadow of a bicycle in the yard where nothing is happening, a vehicle arrested in motion, a blurry sky transfixed for eternity. Gently running fingers through their hair, tucked behind their ears. Then, tracing their fingers on the skin of their right cheeks, noticing that they aren’t smooth enough. Leaning against a metal fence whose contours blended into the background, invisible from the stains. Arrested time, paralyzed portion of it.
But they just never have the time to do it. If anyone interested, I’m here, give me a call. I’m giving away my time. Maybe I wouldn’t on some other occasion, so use this opportunity. I’m not ready for it today; I’m too restless to slip into the shadows of some quiet library, if that option even exists anywhere except in theory. There are too few outlines on the inner horizon, without towers in the distance towards which I could advance through the thickets of unknowns, without spare ideas in my bag which I could develop in the gardens of half-empty taverns, with a glass of an appropriate digestif.
What else is there for me to do? I do my single daily chore – paying the bills at the Financial Agency in Vukovarska – as a central point of my morning. Upon my departure and return, I do not, under any circumstances, take the same route – I take all the available detours.*
I walk downhill. Slower, even more slowly. Not even five minutes have passed, and the bus station is already within reach. I bet the bus will be half-empty; there’ll be an abundance of places to sit; there won’t be any jams at the traffic lights. And I bet that the tramat the transfer stop will immediately arrive. It’s better, much better that it isn’t sunny today.
* Novalis claims that all the images from life make up a substance from which we can create anything we like. All the adventures, acquaintances, every event is just one part of an infinite series, the beginning of an endless novel. It is only dependent on the direction and duration of our attention whether or not we shall build a relationship which is going to be important and productive for us. The real methodology of this experience can be nothing less than the long-coveted art of finding; it could be even more than that. Those how govern their lives according to its laws cannot doubt the fact that one can find it by looking into oneself.