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Apocryphal love - excerpts from this novel

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                               EXCERPTS FROM THE NOVEL APOCRYPHAL LOVE

                                                        .    .    .    .

 

Life in a dormitory seemed very attractive. There would be so many boys and girls her age around her constantly.

Anna was sitting in the back seat of the car while seeing off her parents to the boulevard that would take them to the road to Yambol. She was turning lively, left and right, looking around the area she liked more and more. The students were moving in groups from the student canteen to the dormitories along the pathway that passed by the sports field, along which her father was trying to sneak in violation of the regulations. It was so sunny, bright and lively. In the air was vibrating a buzzing, frantically searching. Anna could not stop turning in the back seat with trembling expectation that in this instant would happen something very nice and important.

And then she saw him.

He had his back to her, looking to the sports field and waving at someone. Anna's unruly heart began beating fast. The car passed quickly. She did not manage to see his face well, but his figure impressed her so much, that she could no longer mistake it for another. She was so fascinated by him that she gave no attention of what her mother said, 'One, really, wouldn't want meet someone like that in a dark alley'. Because the young man was black.

He was different and handsome. Anna was already certain that he was her extraordinary prince from the dreams and fairy tales, which she came up with on her own in her childhood when she wanted to run away from home again somewhere, where everything would be different – probably, where love would be. The love that scared her, the love in which she did not believe, but she was looking for.  The love that her mistrust had to face in the life’s game. Which of the two forces would Anna bet on in this duel, after the chaos of the feelings at home? Representing the distrust, she was one of the competitor in this game. Love was attractive, but insidious adversary. What did Anna want – to win the game or to lose it? If love is not at home, where would it be?

The love that was supposed to rule, was a raging fire, weakness in the knees, stomach cramps or ecstasy, music, and wild dance, and being its voluntary captive, Anna was either happy with her defeat or she despised herself for her weakness. Her fellow students managed to channel their feelings soberly, in the traditional way, as at the former dance parties in the villages. This love, which came to Anna like lightning, represented the extraordinary, the unforeseen, the impulsive, and the real.

 

            OTHER EXCERPT

This time the exercise led by Kolyo the Cook exceeded everyone's expectations. Usually, he managed to clog their brains with Latin names for some fossae, fasciae, laminae and so on, and all that served with love, causing desire for more and more, with teasing eyes and a smile, as if they were at a feast. That way, they became engrossed in repeating the Latin names in the same way stopped in a pub travelers belonging to different nationalities repeat certain worlds in various languages and illustrate them by gestures. The assistant professor usually illustrated the words on some skull or another body part.

This time he was in some good mood and little by little, he went off-topic, eventually completely abandoning the topic, so that nobody even remembered where he had started. In the process of comparing the racial physical appearance traits in humans, the assistant professor started from the body shape, and then talked about the eye, only to switch almost before anyone realized it to the topic of women's breasts, something that the male students appreciated very much. The topic was interesting for Kolyo the Cook because it was very relevant to his current situation. He expected to get soon a permission to go to work in Africa. This brief off-topic lecture was quite understandable. Who knows, maybe the passionate female living in those parts of the world did not leave him completely cold, judging by his enthusiasm on this topic that was clearly not chosen randomly. At that point, Anna was very satisfied by the lecture, since Kolyo explained to them that the Africans owed their shapely figures to the climate conditions in which they live, and that out of the three major races, the Africans had the most beautiful eyes.

‘If you look at the features of the faces of the Africans, you will notice that they are softer and warmer than the features of our face that are sharp and angulated. Surely, this is also due to the hot climate there. Many white women make plastic surgery on their lips to have sensual lips like African women’ – continued his good lecture Kolyo the Cook.

It was as if this lecture was tailor-made for Anna.

'There are three types of women's breasts: European, insular and African,' said the eloquent assistant professor, and Anna already had a feeling that he was on her side and that he was just about to say that African breasts are the best. As if, she were an African, rather than Bulgarian, European.

'The breasts of European women have more glandular tissue and less connective tissue, a narrow base and which is why their shape is a bit cylindrical. Because of that and because of the smaller amount of connective tissue, they lack support and they are baggier.’

The boys were very pleased by the chosen topic. According to this study, the breasts of the women islander had the worst shape of all, and once again, the African ones were those who got all the superlatives - they were apparently cone shaped, resting on a wide base and due to the plenty of connective tissue - firm and pointy.

Whatever people might say, Africans females were superb! And so were the males... And Matthew, too!

She needed that encouragement. It was as if the Cook had told her 'It is completely understandable that you are in love.' After all, he was the authority when it came to anatomy.

‘As for the color of the skin, it could be said that we are colorless and that this is not a positive quality – continued this useful lecture Kolyo the Cook. – Simply, in the skin of the Africans, more pigment melanin is formed to protect them from strong sunrays. It is a pure coincidence, where we were born – here or in Africa. I hope that people around the world become more tolerant to one another, understanding that it is a question of destiny, what qualities one person will have. In this sense, even our personal achievements, which we are proud of, are a matter of destiny. Which, in your view, is a bigger achievement? – The achievement of that person, who grew up without much care and attention, and overcame many difficulties, and succeeded in becoming a honest, hardworking person and even having a profession or your achievement to be here because your parents have send you here to become veterinary doctors and have the confidence that you are something more than one hardworking person? People are different. I think of Albert Einstein’s very good thought. “Everyone is genius, but if it is judging by the ability of one fish to climb some tree, it will live its whole life, thinking that it is stupid.”

How good this lecture was.

Later on, in this vein, Anna would be once again involved in finding proof of the advantages of her forbidden love. In Bulgaria, the word “negro” meant simply “a man of the black race”. The word itself did not content a contemptuous meaning, but there were many people, who had a disdainful attitude toward the people of this race. In Yambol - that provincial place - there was only one institute of higher education and for the people there, seeing an African student in the flesh, was something quite memorable indeed, something exotic. On TV, they saw music and dance performances by African singers and dancers. The people commented, more or less fascinated. "Those agile, full of energy monkeys! Their blood boils. Thoroughbred horses." Dance and music are in the blood of the Africans. When they dance and sing, the music start pulsating rhythmically in every cell of their passion bodies. “Black is beautiful”, some people, who had traveled and saw more of the world, was saying in English.

After the exercise ended, the boys, overflowing with the new useful knowledge, started sketching various types of women's breasts on the blackboard and wrote the names of the respective girls below the sketches. This not so harmless task entertained them.

                 OTHER EXERPT

Matthew was a soldier of Biafra. When the Nigerian troops entered Onitsha for the first time, the soldiers of Biafra retreated in disarray but they reorganized the same day, carried out a successful counter-attack and pushed Nigerian soldiers out of the city.

In 1960, Nigeria became independent of the United Kingdom. In 1963, the nation established a Federal Republic. The northern region of the country has a Muslim majority, while the southern population is predominantly Christian. There exist economic, ethnic, cultural and religious tensions among the various peoples of Nigeria. In 1966 occurred a military coup and six months later counter-coup. The two coups deepened Nigeria’s ethnic tensions. After the federal and eastern governments failed to reconcile, on 26 May 1967 the Eastern region voted to secede from Nigeria. On 30 May 1967, the South Eastern Region’s military governor, announced the new created Republic of Biafra. Biafra’s attempt to leave Nigeria resulted in the Nigerian Civil War.

After two-and-a-half years of war, more than two million Biafra civilians died from starvation caused by total blockade of the region by the Nigerian government. Republic of Biafra existed from 30 May 1967 to January 1970.

Many people considered the war of Biafra genocide.

What traces leave the war in the psyche of those who have experienced it? How long it takes to overcome the psychic injuries caused by the war, the sense that you are hated and persecuted.

At least externally, Matthew did not seem suppressed because of the horrors experienced during the war. Maybe he was so strong because of the trust in the good family, in which he had grown up.

               OTHER EXCERPT

Anna's new roommates were a fun group. Emilia, the girl with Georgian eyes, moved to another institute and left them. Lidiya came to her place - the leader of the movement for protection of pies from thieves. In another respect Lidiya was rather absent because she was in love with Ognyan. She would also soon leave them and move to a dormitory for married students. Her place would be taken by Vanya, a fourth year student, whose husband was serving his obligatory military service, after his graduation from the Veterinary Institute. Anna, Zhana and Krasimira, called by all, Krasi, were the permanent occupants of the room.

Anna and Zhana could not find a cozy position even at night in bed. Krasi snored, while Lidiya slept imperturbably, covered like a cocoon by her blankets.

'Damn!' Zhana could not tolerate this situation any longer. 'Anna, are you asleep?'

'No.’ Anna seemed outraged by such an assumption, as if to say, "How can you even think that?”

'Come on! She is waking up the dead again.' This line referred to Krasi's epic snoring.

A little later, Zhana made a desperate attempt to take the situation under control.

'Krasi!'

'What?'

'You are snoring. Turn around!'

It would simply not be fitting for Krasi to not snore - full of energy, strong, ready to turn everything into a joke and immensely venerating veterinary medicine.

'Anna, I am hungry,' Zhana said resignedly, giving up all hope of falling asleep.

The two of them getting hungry in the middle of the night after the unsuccessful struggle to get asleep was not a rare occurrence.'

'There is nothing in the cupboard.'

Zhana rose from the bed with her typical rebel-like movements and determinedly opened the cupboard. She pulled an onion bulb from there. Sometimes they made salad from the pickled tomatoes and peppers that Anna received from her home but now there was in the cupboard only this solitary onion bulb.

'We have onions and bread. I found salt and pepper too. Perfect!' She really seemed pleased, raised her arm and then with her fist smashed with crash the onion bulb.

'Hey!' Krasi awoke suddenly and tried to orient herself in the situation. 'What the hell are you doing?'

Anna also had adhered towards the cupboard. In tears caused from the onion, she was biting the dry bread.

'Eating,' Zhana snapped. 'What is your problem? Keep snoring!'

Lidiya was sleeping. She could be infuriating, indeed.

'You are crazy! Night demons,' Krasi ascertained, turned against the wall and seconds later was blissfully snoring.

OTHER EXCERPT

 At last! It was so cozy in the shelter of his embrace. If only she could stay here forever. Come what may. The mint scent of his kiss captivated them and seemed to take them to a forest glade. A bliss overwhelmed her at the touch of his cool skin. He felt her exhausting thirst for him and curved his flexible body to respond with kisses to her devotion to him. After a moment, it was as if the two were no longer together, like meteorites, flying in the vast space.

Matthew seemed to be possessed by the pulse of a wild African dance that made his body vibrate. He was taken to the mystical world of one sacred rite and, under the command of the rhythm of the drums tom-tom, left at the mercy of the demons of passion, raging within him. He opened his eyes, as if to get away from their power and land in her eyes, but she had not returned, still dizzy there on that fragrant, magical forest glade. They were looking for each other, seeing each other in an instant, and getting lost again. Finally, they gathered in the magic of this incomprehensible world. They were together like rays, scattered by one glow.

Barry White's voice sneaked up in her consciousness. She opened eyes.

'Are you back now?' He was looking at her slyly.

'What?'

'From the garden of Eden.'

Uncovered, she hid behind his shoulder. Amused by this, he kissed his stupid   girl.

OTHER EXCERPT

Darvenitsa was really like a whole city - an exciting youth city. City of dreams, love, youth, beauty, music, discos, friendship and of course - ambitions, struggles, victories, in other words - all the best things in life. There was a wealth of colors and bustle in the streets and the alleys between the buildings. Young people were calling and waving at each other in greeting or just teasing.

Everything was close to Building No. 19, the building where Anna was going to live, - the stadium, the polyclinic, the students' disco where if you showed a student card you could be a bohemian and dance until two a.m. just if you bought a Coke or even without having to buy a thing. Building No. 19 had fourteen floors, not three as the one at the 4th Kilometer.

The lobby was spacious and later it turned out that Anna was not the only one who appreciated how it could turn into an improvised disco. People danced a lot in here.

OTHER EXCERPT

Victor and Mona kept fooling around and annoying him.

'Hey, you two!' he waved at them indulgently. 'We've been a couple for a much longer time than you.'

After greeting him, Anna had still not said another word. She was looking at Matthew while he was rewinding the cassette. He is the same. My Matthew. And still, not quite the same.... He is so close but it is as if he is behind some shop window.

'Listen to this song! I want to dance with you,' he said in a soft, husky voice, took her hands in his and nodded in Victor and Mona's direction. 'Leave them alone.'

The world was undergoing revival with his touch and this was causing ache. The music left Anna breathless. Matthew was kissing her. She became aware of that as an unconscious person to whom somebody had given first aid.

 I love that man!

That malediction, called love. It was unleashed, erupted in her chest like a cutting, vital gulp of air.

He thought that there was a lot more that he needed to dig out. A lot more. He would need to fashion tools for himself and for her on his own. He sensed that there was no person spiritually closer to him now than she was and he wanted, she to be close to him.

There was something in her, something that was in him also. Some deep sense of dissatisfaction, some wild craving, some sense of doom and, finally, a kind of madness that could stop the time and compress it to a single precious moment.

OTHER EXCERPT

Anne was not with Victor and Mona.

Matthew was smiling at his friends with pangs in his stomach.

Goodbye, Bulgaria!

Maybe she would come...

There was some time before the plane take off. The public address system was already calling the passengers to move to the departure lounge. His friends headed to the open deck for observation of the airplanes. Matthew glanced at them. Some bitterness was frozen on his smile. Victor had never seen his friend as depressed as he had been during these last days in Bulgaria.

Seven years in Bulgaria. The plane was gathering speed.

This plane would travel towards an unknown future. In the past remained something incomplete, something important was lost. The future was a perfectly blank page. What would be written on it?

The plane took off. Bulgaria was remaining more and more far away. Anne was there somewhere. Far away. More and more far away.

Did I really lose her? Matthew did not want to believe it was so.

How would he begin the future with one loss? What kind of start would that be?

I will write her a letter in the summer when she will be in Yambol, Matthew decided. That way, I will be sure she will personally receive this letter.

Now he had to start his medical practice. It would not be easy. Where would he find a job?

EPILOGUE

It is been a long time since Anna and I spent two weeks together at that one sanatorium.

She, at that time, was telling her story and step after step was discovering she had driven her love away.

The reason for this was the syndrome of abandoned child, created during her childhood.

I am a psychologist by profession. The human soul and the labyrinths in which it may be deluded interest me, so I am a good listener. Anna needed precisely such a listener to make a trip to herself, telling the story of her great love.  She did not know what a discovery she would make while she was telling this story. She just was feeling the need to tell it. Perhaps she needed to find answers to some questions. Love had been her companion in this long journey to herself.

 

 

Excerpts from the novel Apocryphal love

Author - Anyuta Angelova

Date of publishing - 28.07.2019

English edition

Category - Fiction, novel

Copyright 2019 Anyuta Angelova - All rights reserved

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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