Equilibrium

wien-wohnung

I could appreciate advantages of living in 15 “ghetto” district of Vienna only when spring came. There was Schmelz nearby, – spacious patch of ground, where local pensioners cultivated vegetables and flowers in small private gardens.

Most of the time outer environment could look grim for us – city folks trapped in concrete boxes of our flats. We were also trapped in offices, in trams, in sticky wagons of underground, forced to go same way and make same choices every day, as miniature train ever repeats its route in the window of toys shop. Cursing piercing wind, public transport, old shoes and fate, avoiding neighbors at staircase and avoiding looking at strangers – as the signs of degradation and dullness written at faces of mysterious individuals strolling around could put me down; I dragged through winter, dreaming about sun. Now and then I visualized refuge of peace, full of soft light, which stood bright in my imagination as final haven of eternal tramp. Closing my eyes I saw cozy peaceful streets of provincial town just after sunset and enjoyed this inner cinema as one could enjoy marvelous food and excellent wine. I saw also garden, which has no beginning and no end, full of exotic plants, translucent air and exquisite scents, where I fluttered from flower to flower as hummingbird or butterfly. Descending in tube or shaking on in the tram shoulder to shoulder with bum or with somebody speaking loud on mobile, I wondered, why it was so great a difference between vision and reality. But life prepared surprise. One day I discovered that the doors in passages crossing Schmelz were all open, and one could walk through them. Schmelz appeared to be unexpectedly beautiful, it literally took my breath away. There were miniature villas with verandas in roses and tiny wooden bungalows among peony bushes, trimmed emerald lawns with troops of gnomes in red caps, compact gardens with cherry and apple trees which just lost their pink lace garments, small clay figures of fairy personages and cupids that rested at every porch as symbolic guardians of tranquility. I knew that all I enjoyed looking at in certain enigmatic way completely belonged to me. Schmelz made me happy, as I realized that all unbelievably pretty things I see in the world, not only roses and cupids, but also elegant clothes, luxurious jewelry, fashionable cars, furniture, houses, cameras, people and animals with loveable appearance – all of them stayed in my possession at the very moment of our eye contact. When I paid attention to the item of beauty, it replied me; then we merged and became one whole in realm of mutual adoration. Roses seen by me in somebody’s garden at Schmelz or bought and put at my rickety table equally belonged to me.

Galina Toktalieva

Kyrgyzstan-born author residing in Graz, Austria

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