Many ordinary people undergo dark moments in their lives and can never get the privilege to relate them to others, in order to feel less burden or to let a clean sun ray slither and clean the dirty floor on which they walk barefoot.
I am an ordinary person and, like many others, I had my somber moments when only the awaken light of conscience and my purest thought could bring me some relief. Because if the man gets asleep, demons dance close to the purest flowers. And some places predispose the human being to dark dreams, places created as if to give birth to illusions and deformities. One of those places was the house I rented in the years 2003-2006.
My parents decided, after long talks, to pay me the rent in a two-room flat in Bucharest, somewhere on a noisy and dusty boulevard, quite central. Those times they payed 170 euros, a too high and unjustified price for the misery I had to endure there. I lived alone, but in a crowded place, because the kitchen was small, with a minuscule and old fridge, the cooking machine the same, surrounded by a small table and a cupboard with old porcelain cups, all of them extremely insalubrious, like the rest of the apartment. The pantry was unworkable, full of old and dirty stuff. The closet room filled with a helter skelter of old books.
The landlady was a real termagant, she did not allow any accommodation in that flat, for example she refused to get rid of the moth-stricken bed mattress, although it was impossible to fight those moths. She had her theory that those mites come from the neighbors. The windowpanes were not tightly clasped so they allowed cold and dust to enter the room at God’s will. After a while I shut them up with some sort of adhesive band. The balcony did not allow me to dry my laundry like a normal housewife, being occupied with old iron pieces, which the proprietors told me they couldn’t get rid off. The bathroom did not have a laundry machine and at first I had to pay someone to get rid of some sort of boulders blocking the sewerage system. My only luck was that in the living room there was a quite comfortable and newer couch, on which I rested my bones at night after each day of work. There was also a very small, but good TV set. A neighbor told me that before me there were lodged some prostitutes, a fact that puzzled me. Upstairs lived a cancer-stricken woman, that committed suicide, said my neighbor. After all it was a quite somber environment.
But the utmost of it all, what created the dark mystery of that apartment was the furniture in the living room. There I brought my cage with two budgies but the female died soon afterwards. The furniture was old and repulsive. Heavy and black, the sideboard and the table from different sets. I glued on that sideboard some of my watercolors and the black paint with some wood shriveled and got stuck onto them.This inspired me something rotten and toxic. I used to call that furniture “the black chest of drawers” after the title of a novel. It was almost empty, apart from some silvered objects, resembling church sacred cups, which fact accentuated the lugubrious impression of that apartment. But the greatest mystery of all was the heavy and grey concrete pedestal or socle covered by a kind of thick lace, reminding me of the screenplay of Arsenic and Old Lace. The landlord told me he never understood how they brought that object inside, because it was so heavy that he could not move it. Maybe raised with a crane, he said.
The tragic event happened in my second year there. In the rental documentation is was written that the lodger doesn’t have the right to expropriate or change something from those rooms. Yet I couldn’t bare anymore that dirt. I called and payed a woman to clean my house, but the same neighbor told her not to insist too much and she cleaned very superficially. And took my money. So I decided to do it myself, cleaning everything in detail, except for those moths which I could not get rid off,regardless of how much toxic spray I used. When it is bad luck, no one can avoid that … falling into the pit. I cleaned the walls, the fridge, the cooking machine, I rubbed the dirty floor and even the broken ceiling lamp. I got to the socle and my worst idea was to wash even that lace. I soaked it in a basin with some detergent and, to my disgust and surprise, it began to unwind more and more and from it flew out, because it had an interior pocket which I did not see at first glance, a sort of reddish-yellowish substance with small particles in it as if it were a dead human’s cinders or a sort of poison. I got very scared but it was nothing more to be done…I was afraid to threw it away in the garbage. It was very frail and I put it to dry on the balcony, to avoid that horrible smell inside. I thought that maybe those were really human remains because a socle suggests something sepulchral and because the same neighbor,after a day, came to me with tears in her eyes telling that in the old days, in that apartment dwelt a very good lady,may God rest her soul wherever she might be now. Then I got into the hospital because I felt ill and I had a red eruption on my hands and on my face. I cut with the scissors a small piece of that lace, just in case someone would need it for analysis and I put the rest in the pantry.I still have it.
But who could be interested in the memories of an ordinary woman?
Meanwhile my own father passed away and the termagant raised the rent to the amount of 300 euros, diminishing my financial inherited resources, because for one more year I could not find another apartment for sale. Today I sit in my own two room flat and I look in my apartment at my green plants that survived since those times. Even the budgie lived well another 5 years or so. It is maybe my only dark and detective-like story in my past but those demons are no more alive. Because I simply don’t ask any more questions which cannot be answered…