Now that you understood the story of my life in brief, i want to add here a few more details about my family.
My mother is in this photo a few years ago, I don’t remember the precise date. Here in the house (where I own 75%) she moved the old furniture from the apartment where she lived with my father (and me) and a few cheap paintings. She bought a cheap carpet and sits on a chair received as a gift from her old workplace, the embassy that closed. These are minor details. A lawyer told me once that I and my mother, being the direct heirs and those who had the bigger share at the same time, we should have get the house as a whole. It was not so. There was another family who had a smaller share, the brother of my godmother and his wife. That aunt tortured me many years about this partition and my mother too complained very much about her. They even went so irritated once that they had a fight (that woman and mother’s neighbor who supported my mother) and got bruises really. Now this blue room has a common wall with a back room that isn’t ours. My mother sleeps in the other room. My aunt, who was friendly towards my mother when they were young, gave that part of the propriety, together with land (the land partition too caused troubles to me) to a young unmarried couple they protected, a couple that has a child and they are still unmarried. They lived among different odds and ends with the child that played with me once.
After many years my mother paid and constructed a transparent fence separating our yard from theirs. My mother never accepted legal separation between the two of us, which would eventually give me financial independence and a good share for her too (considering the other apartment where we have lodgers). Back then my physical health was still good. The real estate market crushed down in my country after my father’s death and all my properties lost their value. This happened after I bought my apartment and thus I was hit the most and left without any cash. The apartments and the rent lost then their value and I lost my money from grandma’s house and garden, because I had to buy at higher price. They did not raise since then.
Anyway, this house where my mother lives has some encumbrances, it is not too valuable and the partition is not advantageous. I think it would have been hard to sell it anyway.
My aunt (not related by blood) took care of my godfather together with my father before he died. I could’t, for different reasons. He even signed a will paper (that is useless of course, for those who don’t know this, only the legal shares count nowadays). Then my father left for a few days and my uncle died in the presence of this aunt, who showed him to me naked, dead, lounged on his belly in his bed when I came back for the funeral from my grandparents village where I was back then. He was completely yellow and rigid, in fact I don’t know how much time did they leave him like that, in the back room that is not ours now. Then the doctor could not embalm him (he had a horrible liver cancer) and his entrails were buried in our garden following the doctor’s advice.
I know this story seems morbid, but it is the truth, that’s life. In fact he was a good man. They bought for him a huge Italian coffin and he did not fit the hole dug for his own grave. Thus, he was buried close to the ground, hastily, and then my father was buried a little deeper in the same place. My father stood one day at the legal medical institute and was perfectly embalmed. He looked alive in the coffin, only a white small spider was on his chest after we entered the graveyard. Then rat holes appeared on their graves for a few years. My mother sold illegally my own legal grave places I inherited from my godparents and said that my place will be over my father and godfather. My godmother’s grave was taken by that aunt of course. Mother says that my aunt did not even care about the weeds there. My mother takes care of the graves from time to time. That aunt moved from the city there in the same suburban place, that was declared a city, where I spent my happy childhood days, Voluntari. But I don’t belong there….I was sad, very sad.
In the next photo you can see my Christmas tree in 2007 and my mother smiling (she used to wear smoky glasses indoors.
My mother, my only guest and my first Christmas tree in my new apartment. In fact I forgot if I had one in 2006, but I can tell you that I brought this one myself home, in spite of snow, although I have only one leg and it was me who decorated all my Christmas trees, climbing on chairs, because back then I was healthier and I could wash my window panes and curtains too. For me Christmas meant so much…even though I did not have a real Christmas or birthday or Easter or New Year’s Eve since 1984. Once I had beautiful Christmases even in the village of my maternal grandparents.
That palm-like plant that you see there is now almost as tall as the bookcase. It was bought for me by my father before the death of my godfather. I have another one I bought myself before the death of my father, a small plant from the croton family. I did not know until recently that croton plants are poisonous, now I care for my plants, but I did not have money in the last three years to change their pots or soil.
My bookcase — it was from the cheapest, one of the few things I could afford from my heritage. My books are some of them read, some unread. The Bible in the middle, I have 3 Bibles plus two New Testaments, plus Bible for kids. I hoped to have a child. I used to buy story books for my future children since I was in high school. I discovered and read “The Neverending Story” by Michael Ende after my father’s death. It is good for adults too. I still like books for children. I have books inside too and in the other cupboard too. The books I kept in my house are some of them received as gifts, others bought by me through the years and some from my father’s library who had even art books. He had not philosophy (or poetry of course), otherwise he had a good home collection. I had a very good memory and in only a few months or less in 1984, I knew by heart each book and its place in father’s collection, that was big enough. The other books my father had are, at least partly now, in my mother’s home but she threatened me she will throw them out because they are old and stink. I think some of them were valuable. My books here are memories for me, I read much more from public libraries.
It is me and only me who arranged every little detail in my apartment, every object in its place, finding what they stole from my belongings. It is me who chose the colors of the paint and all the other window or bathroom or kitchen necessary things and the lamps to be lower to allow me to climb and change the bulbs and the place for each piece of furniture, etc. I had little money, I did what I could, trying to be wise and prudent/far-seeing for the future. I only dreamed of a comfy armchair all my life and now my backbone gives me trouble.
My godparents too had their books collection and they used to read every day in my childhood. Those books are lost. I still have one from them “Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet” by Shakespeare, which of course I read, and in it, on its last pages I found an interesting detail: a paper heart pinned with a pin and having a number on it, that was given as a prize at a kind of dance contest named the “The little hearts waltz”. It happened in 1962. I modified my story on this photo, where I was uncertain, because I finally had the heart to look on my bookshelves. My father’s name was Victor-Ironim (Ironim was my paternal grandfather) and my godfather’s name was Liviu -Stefan. His wife was Maria but she was called on her nickname: Medy. Her mother called her Mady. Her name as Medy with her husband’s name Liviu appear on another book that I took from their heap of books, a book that is called “The Sea Wall”, by Marguerite Duras. The date is 1969, the year of their marriage. I read that book recently and I still have it. My godfather had another wife before, he divorced her, and was very reluctant to talk about her. I was only a child, that’s why I asked about her and why he divorced. They told me that she died in 1977 at that 4th of March earthquake, the last big earthquake in my country, on his birthday. Such a heap of books could also be found in the insalubrious apartment where I was once a lodger, where my father payed me the rent, after opposing my plan to move there. I never looked at those books, I never opened that wall closet again. In fact I was never a curious person, not even as a child. I asked only a few questions from time to time. My godmother was the wife of an Orthodox priest who was imprisoned after the war by the communist regime, then released, and who died in service in a car accident. The other priest in my family was mother’s uncle and he sexually molested me (my mouth and my nipples) when he came once to visit us before 1989, under the eyes of my mother and his wife, who both seemed to be amused. I was told that my middle name, Monica, was given to me because that priest’s wife wanted so, though the rest of my family wanted only the name Cristina for me and my father, who had no word among them, wanted to baptize me Teodora. When I moved in my new apartment after my father’s death, one neighbor (a woman who prayed to God every day and who went to the Orthodox church often) told me that the whole city or many of them knew what that priest, my uncle, used to do to women in his church. Then, after a few years, she died of cancer and her husband (who was a military man and a poet, and who made fun of me countless times), remarried at a short time after her death. Some people, mostly children, in my mother’s village called me Monica, because that’s what they were told when I was little. I always tried to correct them. My grandparents called me only Cristina, but my grand-grandmother who lived in the priest’s house (her son-in-law) each winter, in Bucharest, she called me Monica. Years after my birth, mother’s younger first cousin baptized his only daughter Monica. I did only one mistake about my name when I was at Cluj, in my first year as a Psychology student: I introduced myself as Monica because I hoped to start a “new” life, I will not explain. The tragicomic fact is that after 2010 when I entered the net in order to read and share my poems, many unknown people called me Monica, though I dislike this, though I introduced myself as Cristina, though I explained that Monica is only my middle name.
I said that my godfather was in fact a good man in my previous photo. He was, but maybe most of all he was a good teacher for me in my childhood. He was always calm and patient and taught me beautiful things about stars, trees and plants, drawings, music, poetry, geometry. Those things were good. But he also taught me to be always good and to never lie, to be true to myself and true to others too. He used to say that a teacher’s greatest happiness is when his pupil surpasses him. He used many Latin locutions from time to time, like “Festina lente” or others, hence my love for Latin expressions.
And after years I still don’t agree with what one of my psychiatrists told me: “Cristina, you don’t know how to lie, you have to learn how to lie”. I am not ashamed to be myself, like I was educated, that’s me, I never lied and I never will. I can tell looking back that lies could not help me at all (anyway I could not guess what others were thinking, I never perceived others’ thoughts) and I am grateful to my godfather who taught me to be earnest and honest all my life.
Almost all the books I ever bought in my life, until a few years ago, are signed by me with my name and usually the date when I bought them.
He also used to prepare beautiful Easter eggs and we all sang a religious traditional hymn standing around the Easter lunch table.