Tuesday, April 12, 2005


I didn’t know him at all. And here I was, eating his biscuits, drinking some strong homebrewn liquor. Wondering who put the fresh flowers on his table. Admiring the small painting which reminded me of Francis Bacon. I am looking straight into a young man’s mouth.
He told me he had been fighting in France in the Second World War. There was a moment he considered fleeing to Belgium an option. But he couldn’t get the image of his parents out of his head. He had to return, if only to see if they were still alive. They were then. But not anymore. Of course. He was 84 now. Still living in Sturovo.
I had been on my way to the other side. But things don’t always turn out the way you plan them. I filmed a garden behind a long wooden fence. At the end of the fence, a man stood in his doorway. If you film somebodies property and he invites you in, you can’t refuse. Besides, if you are on your way to the other side, a chance meeting can’t be a coincidence.
He poured us another drink. It was three o’ clock.
He used to be a “menegdzser”. He travelled at a time when most people couldn’t. He had been in Amsterdam before I was born. Before my mother had even kissed a boy without any other intention than to tease him. He tried to find the name of the hotel he had stayed in during his days in Amsterdam. But the memory was buried under other memories. When you are 84 they pile up. Hide themselves between more recent ones. He took a new one. “Julia, wie Julia Roberts. Sie ist acht Jahre alt.” He got that look in his eyes grandparents get when talking about their grandchildren. When you can’t walk as fast as you used to, they do the running for you. Maybe even the living.
At four 'o clock, she walked in, Julia, just like Julia Roberts. She brought her aunt with her. I knew her. She had brought me beautiful flowers once. Probably from the same garden that got me in this house.
She offered me some homemade coockies. They were delicious.


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