Trafika Europe 11 - Swiss Delights

Ilma Rakusa

One night, I believe it was on the way to Zagreb, a man on the side of the road waved and forced us to pull over. Had we seen any fugitives. Fugitives? Thieves had plundered his vineyard. They couldn’t have gotten far. No, we hadn’t met anyone. He stepped back and wearily dropped his hands. The word ‘thieves’ captured my imagination for days afterwards. It had jumped out at me in the middle of the night on an isolated road, had startled me awake: the embodiment of menace that could appear suddenly and without warning, there, around the next curve. To this day, I avoid traveling in cars at night. The unknown, magnified by night, frightens me. The child in me senses danger. I was a child in transit. In the slipstream of travel, I discovered the world and how it scatters to the wind. Discovered the present moment and how it dissolves. I left only to arrive, arrived only to leave. I had a fur-lined mitten. That, I had. I had a mother and a father. I had no bedroom of my own. But three languages, I did have three languages. To ferry from here to there.


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