unirea urziceni was beating the glasgow rangers

Ionuț Sociu

on that august morning everything changed
i could hear his slightly strident voice through my sleep a noisy masculine
that was breaking definitively through the silence of all summer mornings
clear mornings on which the sizzling of eggs would wake me
my mother scuttling in the kitchen dan reading leaning on one elbow
we'd just gotten cable every morning i pressed the buttons
on the remote my eyes still unwashed
but this time he woke me
i opened the door to the bedroom without making a sound
and his voice hit me as if i'd opened the door of a running train
i saw his officer's cap i threw myself under the sheet trying to go back
                    to sleep
now i could hear my mother too laughing an army officer
a man in a uniform she'd dreamed about it her whole life
i closed my eyes the sun was beating on my face
i was trying to imagine what he looked like
i was trying to fill the stiff cap on the glass table in the hall
what kind of head could go here

later i told this whole story to a friend who consulted freud like the yellow
and he said affectedly this was the moment when you lost your mother
think about your father he died when you were six
your mother is the first woman in your life
there was no one to stand between you and her
until that august morning when he appeared
i was laughing but he was serious and our conversation grew long
and he was rambling on and talking about the domino effect
about a long succession of separations
but i laughed at him the way you laugh at people who talk about masons
                    and conspiracy
theories but then i got a chill and then i told him about how he'd beat up my mom
and he said yes what we have here is a fully dickensian situation

i was coming back through the rain to my rented apartment near cișmigiu
when i got a knot in my throat i knew that these were going to be our last
                    days together
i remembered my grandfather in '46 he enlisted in the army
marusia his love remained at home and wrote him letters for a year
and on a blustery day grandpa received a letter
in which marusia told him that her family couldn't wait any longer
and that they wanted to marry her off to someone else grandpa wrote
                    the same day and told her to get married
while he was writing tears poured down his cheeks and some hours later
grandpa half-asleep was patrolling the frozen platform of a station near
when someone grabbed him by the arm
and pulled him out from in front of an oncoming train
i got away with my life
think about it ionuț if the train had hit me
the whole village would have said i threw myself in front of a train because
                    of marusia
i wasn't quite that stupid

why do people break up
how can there be several women in a man's life
doesn't this mean to die and be resurrected
how can the love of your life be replaced by another
this is what i was writing at one point in my journal packed with pathetic
i told dan too and he told me this too has to do with the unique image
                    of the mother
but maybe this is all nonsense
i only wanted to see my mother happy with someone
when she was breaking up with m i was happy he would be leaving
and that it would be just the two of us again and there'd be no one to hit her
i watched from the window and felt sorry for him watching him leave
                    the apartment building
dragging a big raffia sack behind him i was reading dostoevsky in high school
and i knew there was no such thing as bad people and good people
and he was going somewhere far now he no longer had an officer's cap either
to a village on the banks of the prut and i felt sorry for him
because there he'd have no cable tv
and this seemed to me the saddest thing in the world

the whole backdrop to the breakup was prepared
the rain streamed down the windows
it was noon but outside it was almost dark
i on my mattress and she on her mattress
we were listening to leornard cohen we were holding hands and both crying
we'd directed the scene quite nicely
in the evening we went to the chinese restaurant
when we lived in the dorm we'd go there all the time
we ate chicken fried rice with vegetables and egg
we held hands and cried
i felt like i was suffocating we came home
no longer holding hands
i on my mattress and she on her mattress
she fell asleep quickly snoring softly
and i lost it again and cried
i was watching her sleep i would have liked to kiss her
the way i'd done night after night
all of these years but i didn't
i watched the game unirea urziceni was beating
the glasgow rangers four to one
the commentator was saying that on that night romanians should be happy

translated from the Romanian by Oana Sanziana Marian