this morning I awoke earlier than usual for no particular reason. but every morning my reaction is the same. I jump out of the bed and go to the terrace. just to look. and stare. and breathe. in and out. sometimes the fresh air hits my lungs so suddenly I feel like I might choke. this morning it was too early. barely quarter past six. stillness. eternal stillness that I cannot describe properly. as if everything was asleep. not even the seawater breathing. almost dead. instead of a clear blue sky I was welcomed by dark grey and cold. the bay was preparing for a storm but only a few knew. the little town deeply asleep. I took down the tablecloth and pillows off the chairs mindlessly; collected my towels and kicked everything into a corner. before I fell back asleep in my bed I wondered what had made me wake up in the first place.
cuddled up in thin bedsheets and rows of pillows while everything around shakes. sleeping deeply but at the same time being fully conscious. raindrops pounding on the rooftop, only a few feet away from my head. shaking thunders and lightning; strong wind and the unmistakable scent of salt water being rushed in all directions. but the thunders. there is nothing like the thunders by the sea. the same calmness as before took over once the sky exhausted itself. I drank my coffee with a jumper around my shoulders; the cold air was nearing what would be the coldest winter in south east asia. I kept thinking whether I could survive a single winter in my bay.
nighttime. terrace. a bottle of milk. I am watching the red moon move across the sky. it reached the top of mountains behind the marina. I can see it descend clearly. twelve o’clock. time moves too fast. everywhere. I wish it would rain again tonight. I just looked again; the moon has completely disappeared.
first day of september has always been significant but the reasons have changed over the years. september the first is my personal new year; a new beginning. for me the year is officially at its end now. days are going to speed up, everything is going to be faster. some parts the world will get colder, others hotter. new different seasons, changes. while I was still at school summer was usually a quiet period for me and then september would serve as sort of a comeback. life would speed up but I would become less annoyed and scattered and I would find time to write.
this year everything is different. I am writing this in croatia, in my home, on the top terrace. overlooking the sea, this beautiful bay, which has changed very little in last twenty years except it has become cluttered as various developments have emerged all over the hills. sun is slowly descending into sunset; the sea reminds me with its stillness of olive oil on a pan. sounds of boat motors roar somewhere in the distance, dogs bark from different houses speaking to each other, everything glows in orange and pink. I cannot get enough of this view. not even after so many years but so little.
and this september I am twenty years old, I am finally seriously working on my novel that might never be, I have had a few little articles published and apart from the insane seven months I have just spent in hong kong, I have already been on the road for a month by myself. this time of my life is one of those that will enrich me, make me a better person, just like every other time I have traveled somewhere. I am visiting my homes but nothing gives one a better inner focus than traveling alone. I am grateful for this time of the year. and the iced coffee next to me.
on the last august evening I sat at the local cafe known as Starac, Old Man (and the Sea). I picked up a newspaper and a cheap summer romantic paperback. it is entertaining to a certain level but mostly incredibly boring. the usual summer-by-the-beach literature. this little town that I call my home is made up of less than two thousand people. the beauty of Starac is that it is kind of the centre of everything. locals and tourists come there to have a cup of coffee in the morning as well as a glass of wine in the evening. it is always busy. I chose my spot in the middle just as the sun began to descend. everything glowed in orange, red and yellow; people stopped by; laughed; talked; children drove past on bikes; everyone bathed in sunlight. summer makes people happy; summer makes me happy and particularly in croatia.
countries of the mediterranean are blessed with an atmosphere, food, people and culture that can be found nowhere else in the world. I guess what I missed the most and never realized it, was the mentality of these people. warmer, easy going and with nothing to worry about. two glasses of bevanda made me feel warm, I walked barefoot to the marina, taking photographs along the way. the moon is young tonight. in its first phrase and could be seen while the sun was still out. looking at it I thought it was the symbol of summer. it is my permanent association with my grandmother, in a way.
I walked around, choosing my yachts and thinking of life, thinking of where I could end up one day. but still I am convinced that this is the place I will always come back to. the locals were playing balote, just as always. I even recognized some of the players. it is strange for me to think that some people never move anywhere in their life. it is one of the things that will forever remain unfamiliar to me. I bought ice cream to keep me company on the way home and spent the rest of the night sitting on my terrace and starring into deep darkness that is the night sea. it fascinates me the way light reflections move on the water; disturbing the stillness of everything around, living their own life. and then I thought, maybe I am my own reflection.
and tomorrow it is september.
a quiet night. the deep bay of rogoznica appears to have frozen in time. the bridge between two small islands; the marina; occasionally a house here and there with its light on and street lamps are the only sources of light of the last summer night. for me the most fascinating are the stars above me. it is something I miss too often in hong kong. it has almost been a month since I have left and to my surprise I don’t think about returning at all. many things have changed in the life of this village as well as mine yet coming back here always brings the same emotion: I am home; home like nowhere else in the world. I have grown up here; began my first friendship that in a way lasts until today; this is my childhood. the top terrace is mine I spent most of my time here. during the day it is a perfect place to gain a tan, during the evening it is ideal for dinner and at night it only makes me write, observe and remain quiet in a way that I can be nowhere else. I feel myself calming down; everything around me is slow and still. after a single day it feels as if I have been here for a month. because daily habits would not change.
I wake up early in the morning, just as the sun reaches the top of a close hill, I prepare my coffee with a tall glass with brown sugar and milk. it tastes differently here; it is almost sweet. I don’t eat in the morning; I read a book instead. but here my preference is a local gossip magazine. I am always away and I have no idea what is happening with the locals so I find this semi-literature highly amusing. then I go for a swim across the bay; back and forth it takes less than an hour. walking back up the hill to my house is a better exercise than going to the gym. I do this seven or eight times until the late afternoon. after only one day I can feel my body changing its shape. despite the ice cream, sweet cookies and domestic candies. I have missed all this food and I am not trying to limit myself. I drink milk straight from the bottle, forgetting about the mustache entirely until I feel it come off as I jump into the sea half an hour later. I chat with the locals who still recognize me but sometimes I am just pretending I know their names, too.
I am looking forward to going to the fish markets this week, spending some time at a local cafe with the others, walking through the marina choosing my yachts, riding my bike through hidden streets to see the sunset at open sea and generally spending as much time swimming as I can. it has been two years since last time and honestly it has been too long.