Welcome to my village in the South of Romania.
My Grandparents’ house is the last one over there, right where civilization ends and the forest begins.
Here, people from family come and go. The only constant is my Grandmother. She rarely leaves the house, not to mention the village. Last time she went to the city was almost a year ago; that day she learnt how the checkout treadmill works.
My Grandfather passed away six years ago. He taught me math and how to draw cats and baby chickens. Sometimes when I enter his room or walk outside the garden where the old nut tree used to be I can feel his presence. I see him in every old man with deep blue eyes, the color of a cloudless sky.
Grandma’s house smells like chamomile and ointment. In the countryside, everything has its own personality – from the rust on the roof and the wire we dry our clothes on, to the special way my grandmother places a table cloth upon the table cloth that was already on the table. She likes to come up with new solutions for things. Like last Easter, for example, when she dried the freshly-painted red eggs on that old pair of trousers I used to wear as a kid.
When fruits refuse to grow in our garden, oranges will always be an option. Those tangerine moons are symbols for Christmas – every single child expects a sack of oranges under the tree – but we now eat them anytime of the year.
My 7-year-old cousin used to be afraid of that old, dusty feathered pheasant. Ever since he gave it a name he isn’t anymore. Johnny is now less dusty and, of course, happier than before.
My uncle works in the nearest town, but he comes home in the village at least five times a week. He always asks me for a Facebook picture, even though he doesn’t have an account. On the other hand, Grandma won’t let me photograph her unless her hair is thoroughly combed.
Our neighbors are very quiet and mysterious. Some of them are too old to remember, and others too young to forget. Many of them are distant relatives, but I don’t know them by name; I know them through short interactions which marked me – visually or emotionally – like that time when our neighbor introduced us to a pigeon he had promised to take care of.
This is my home, the one I grew in. And it’s made of eggs, pots and oranges, and fractions of life yet to be lived.
By Felicia Simion