I was born in a year with heavy snowfall, that just happened to be the year of the Cernobil accident. I was barely two weeks old when I abandoned the cat I was sharing a bed with to start my first winter journey, crossing the Carpatians with my parents. I kept travelling all throughout my childhood on a parents-propelled wooden sledge. I am a nomad at heart, I kept travelling all throughout my life to a million places, in my room, with my eyes closed. I remember the first flying lesson I took, while holding my father’s right hand and my mother’s left hand, me lifting my legs from the ground and allowing the magic of imponderability to happen.
I never really lost that sense of magic, although there were times in my life I had the impression I failed miserably. I had this impression the most when it came to love matters.
In south France, after you cross the Alps, the vegetation starts changing and all those beautiful, colourful Mediterranean plants start appearing, you can catch the glimpse of the sea for the first time. In the same area, there is a prison and it impressed me deeply when I noticed it for the first time because it perfectly mirrors a paradox: a prison close to the sea is like loving the wrong person. You feel the desire for freedom and you are trapped. I am a nomad at heart who sometimes chose the wrong companions.
There will always be a pile of books on the floor and you will stumble upon it on your way to the bathroom. The bohemian will start screaming at you: do not destroy the treasure, please don’t leave any footprint on some Garcia Marques novel. And then, the bohemian will declare, with so much hope in her voice that if she finds a person madder than herself that will actually buy one of her paintings for the outrageous price that she fixed she will buy a plane ticket for Peru or Chile. To get off the plane, dressed in something that resembles a puma costume, straight into a novel by Isabel Allende or Mario Vargas Llosa, to climb the Andes and to cross the Amazonian jungle. The bohemian always wanted to move inside a novel. To try out some magic herbs if possible and forget entirely that it is physically impossible to move inside a novel. She will invite you to join this adventure. The bohemian will say all this while rolling a cigarette and will postpone again that very annoying action called dish washing, so mundane for an artist soul.
The worms will eat us if we live according to your artist soul. But the worms will eat us anyway, cause living with a bohemian is not easy, the bohemian will tell you straight in the face the essential things: that we all grow old and that you might want to make love even when you will be all wrinkled, no matter how disgusting this may sound now.
It’s not easy to live with an artist, cause one morning, you might wake up being a character in a novel.
And you might want to kill her because all the intimacy is gone with the wind. It used to be better when the bohemian woke up with different ideas, such as setting up an art colony or a philosophical and psychological society, everything at at same time because the universal man Leonardo da Vinci was born again and you have no idea how great an ego is sleeping in the same house as you. She will laugh at this last sentence so hard and there will be times when you will look at her astonished, not knowing if she is serious or not. You will sometimes wonder if you are sharing the house with a woman or just a naughty child. And one day, the bohemian will start painting and her art will multiply so fast, invading the house like a spider web. She will paint in oil, even cooking oil when she runs out of art supplies, she will mould the clay with the spoon you use for soup and you will be afraid like hell of those little creatures because maybe now the madwoman took up to voodoo. She will paint restlessly so that she can stare at them for hours, standing still in silence, a silence that she kicked you out from when she closed her right eye. Because one day the bohemian discovered while sitting on the couch that if she closes the right eye, she can make you vanish, she has magic powers. She will occupy the living room table with brushes and many kinds of tubes, that will stain everything, including the artist’s dresses. She will walk around wearing some turquoise blue at her wrist and yellow stains on her dress and you will know that she acts like this because she is in love. And you will know this because you know that look on her face when she is in love. And one day, the bohemian will put on a hat and will walk around the streets with no purpose, trying to understand the mysteries of the universe in your absence.
I cannot see you too well, you are riding a white bike, you smile, you look happy, but the image is unclear, you say it is because of the speed. You like speed, but sometimes life runs so fast in front of our eyes, you are afraid we will forget everything, even the faces of our parents. This is why you ride so fast, you want to catch the truth before an unclear image gets imprinted in the memory. There is a secondary road on your right, the path becomes blurry because of the old oak trees. We are in the forest that surrounds the Kroller-Muller museum, the green gem of the Netherlands, according to the leaflet you red and then you put indifferently in your pocket. You try to keep a straight line while riding the bike, you seem to be very focused. It must be because you have learnt how to ride a bike recently, although you are 27. You scare an old lady when you are about to bump into her. But you don’t seem to notice, you smile and fix one of your bags on the shoulder. You always wear two bags, filled with all kinds of useless thing, you say you want to be prepared, just in case. It’s raining heavily, but you don’t seem to notice, you pedal faster in the open spaces of the forest.
I need to hurry, in this country everything closes at 5.
I want to see that painting of Van Gogh, Café terrace at night. I know all its details because I printed a picture of it and stared at it for hours. At home, I sometimes look outside the window, I like watching the speed of the clouds and the silent screams of the seagulls. I live close to the sea.
It’s raining heavily but I don’t care too much about that, I could pull the sunglasses from my bag. At least I can avoid water getting into my eyes. The locals don’t seem to get wet, they don’t seem to care about rain or water, I sometimes see them going out of the house with their hair wet after taking a shower. My grandma would go crazy if she heard that, she would say it’s a sure way to die of meningitis.
We arrive at the museum and you run like crazy to the entrance. You say you need to see a painting. There was a time when I used to like Van Gogh as well, but then I don’t remember what happened, maybe I just got isolated inside my own sadness. I remember all the art albums you used to give me as a present for Christmas or that one time when you bought me the letters of Van Gogh to his brother, Theo, for my birthday. I miss the way you used to be before you got isolated in your own sadness. I don’t feel like entering inside the museum, so I just wait for you outside, smoking a cigarette. All paintings started annoying me since you started painting and they spread around the house like a spider web. I think you started painting because you are in love, but it’s been a while now since you stopped telling me anything. You didn’t even tell that you have a bike now, you just showed up one day riding that bike that I noticed at the entrance of our house and wondered whose is it. There are four apartments in the house. In one of them two beautiful girls live. In another one, there is a man living, who comes home drunk every evening, carrying a bag from McDonalds. Sometimes I hear him sing in his apartment, things like: I go to Spain or I am so tidy. And then, there is the girl that once knocked at our door to keep it quiet while we are loudly arguing.
You come back to the entrance of the museum, you seem nervous, you say: I couldn’t see anything properly. We leave because it is getting dark and there are about five kilometres to pedal through the forest. You pedal slowly and sometimes I stop and wait for you or let you go ahead. There is no one else on the path we took, the forest is big and there are numerous routes to take.
I stop under a tree to smoke a cigarette, I see you passing by and smiling when you disappear around the corner. And then I hear a bump and a metallic sound on the asphalt. I knew you fell, but I just stay there for a little while in silence before I reach you. There is blood on your knees and tears in your eyes. I look at you and you say it hurts. Everything hurts.
I fell and I cannot help crying. But it wasn’t just the physical pain because that one is sometimes easier to handle. I cry because just like in this forest, there are many roads we can take in life and sometimes we walk on these roads alone or other times accompanied. I cry because we can never really stop this journey, the moments that we freeze are just in our memory. And I a nomad.
I have a nomad soul, I wish to travel the world, so, eyes closed, I arrive in Siberia and look straight to the horizon.
An insatiable look. Up lately, I dreamt about Creta and Bali. Islands in the sun. I remember the story about my grandmother’s ancestors. Some tall, distant people, carrying the nostalgia of the Mongolian steppe in their eyes. A clear horizon is freedom.
I am one of those passionate people, who have a natural sense of drama and enjoyment of life. When I die, I want to look back and be able to say: oh God, I did live. All the years of living at high emotional intensity did not diminish my capacity to wish. I enjoy some good wine and good company. And laughters until the morning, when normal people go to work, and us, the bohemians, warm up our skins at the first rays of sun of a new day. Wake up at 12, paint, write and disregard the natural flow of life. I never grew up and settling down is like taking away the horse from a Mongolian passionate about clear horizons. As years go by, I understand the bohemians remain a few to choose from.
I wish for a companion in life, someone with an adventurous spirit, maybe a nomad that still has the capacity to marvel in front of the beauties of the world. I get bored at writers’ gatherings, a bunch of frightened people that recreate life from the intimacy of their rooms. I enjoy sharing, but a passionate way of sharing and I would sacrifice the delight of recreating life through writing for a real experience. Because there is fire burning inside me and no matter how many times life betrays me, I go on walking. Go on wishing. I never really lost that sense of magic.
Laura Livia Grigore is a poet, painter and psychology enthusiast, with a background in space engineering. She likes to experiment with various mediums and types of writing. Her artwork is orientated on emotions, reflecting her opinion that most of the answers we need can be found inside ourselves, although the hardest thing to do is to be sincere with oneself. You can purchase her poetry book here.