One day, a teacher told me “If you’re talking to a girl about her lover, don’t ask her the things she likes about him. Ask her what really pisses her off. That’s the essence of a relationship.” I had ignored that in the first place, but not so long time ago, someone asked me: “You love Romania. But what is it that you really don’t like about it?” I blinked. And blinked again. Like I was being faced to a question way too simple for an exam that I had prepared tones of pages.
I don’t like the complaining, though it is not that often and it is not widespread. But it still exists. Every January, you hear a politician complaining about the snowing. The normal phenomena that had also happened last year and two years ago and so on until back to the winter of ’54, which is currently reminded as the worst in our meteorological history. But the spring’s memory is better than ours and it shows up every year, melting it like it does since forever.
I don’t like the pessimism. If I would have one dollar for every single time I have heard “Nothing is going to change anyway” I could buy a little village in the north of the country and live happily ever after. But the only way that we pay for that remark is that we actually give up trying to change anything. So we end up running in circles that we drew ourselves in the fine sand that keeps getting in our shoes and makes us walking even slower, even harder and even clumsier.
I don’t like the lack of bravery. “Courage?” my friend asked. No. It is not about courage. It is about the fact that I still hear around me the proverb “The bent head won’t be cut by the sword” or “Get along with the Devil until you will be passed the abyss”. I think Romanians should stand up more for their rights. For their demands. I think they should make a step forward, look straight in the other’s eyes and talk loudly. Assume the risk and believe in themselves. It is different from courage. We have that. It is indispensable in order to make a living here. We need courage to wake up in the morning and courage take it over again. And that, Heaven knows we do.
At the end of my answer, I didn’t blink repeatedly anymore. I had realized the question was not that easy after all. It was profound and revealing. It cut straight into my flesh. The answer might have sounded like a complain, it was probably a little bit pessimistic. But I hope it was an act of bravery, too.
By Adina Marinica