Day 1 – HER

B. met U. in ISTAN

Yes B. is douchebag. Perhaps all this writing was because of her, in a good way of course. But now U. left him and he did his best to let it happened. Staring at the last message he got from her, wondering how to explain all these thoughts with one sentence.

Cigarette effect.

You probably heard about butterfly effect, well cigarette effect is its offspring. If you are a smoker you must have had at least few cigarettes which change your life. It’s like a comfy speedy drive in drenched cabin of your car. Lack of noise sleeps your vigilance until nicotine hunger force you to lids cigarette and open the window. Suddenly air is getting into all your senses, making them sharper and awake. Small doze of adrenaline reaching blood cells and finally neurons start sending proper sense of real speed. Most of our time we remain in our cabins, keeping all troubles outside. We never dare to open window, sleepy overcoming another distance. That day B. didin’t intend to open the window, she dared. With one cigarette she ask for, fresh air sneaked to his blood and brought her inside. That summer afternoon B. arrived to another expat dinner and U. just arrived to ISTAN. She was about quitting somking. It supposed to be that nice friendly talk, and it was, except U. traveled with him over the front line, visiting the city where he was deployed. They didn’t talk much, just shared cigarette effect occasionally like that night when they were standing on balcony and listening to rumbling artillery, having enough alcohol in vains to make any awkward step, yet they didn’t dare. U. left other morning leaving window opened behind.

B. just entered arrival holl, looking around for a few minutes when he finally spoted U. She was carring her morning coffee, unhurriedly moving towards him. There was something annoying in her slowly nature, something which irritates him and forcing him to adore U. even more. They haven’t seen each other for last month and now they were driving home. Streets were properly asphalted. She press the accelerator pad and started nimbly overtaking all cars. God! How on earth he thought, she can be so steadily in other tasks and drive so fast. His mind was still in ISTAN. No more check points he thought, no need to stop every 20 minutes and repeating the same shit show in front numbed armed guy dressed like he took everything what was green in his wardrobe. Roads. It was always first to spot when B. was back home. Horse power finally can be used for something more than just 50km per hour crawl, no more fear of colliding wheel while looking for a piece of road without a hole. Before he realized U. was entered residential road in front of her apartment. She rapidly unfasten seat belt and started parking maneuver. She was always taking care of her seat belt first. Her place was comfty, completely different from ISTAN indoor decorations. She unzipped her yellow coat and grabbed Bowie’s last album. Vinyl started to play for next two weeks.

B. was always numb when coming from from ISTAN countries. His adoptation skills after all these years become blurred whenever he was traveling home. He was one of those nomads who are at home nowhere, and now he was staring at the grocery shelf having difficulties to decide which one of twenty yogurts he wants. Food he though, buying food is another overwhelming task. Suddenly you have more than just one type of bread and you want to buy just a bread. U. looked him like and knew it. She picked up all needed products allowing him to select only the bottle of white wine for a evening.

Could you carry me back to where we started from.

Becoming aid worker is like swimming in the sea. It’s easy to swim out, however return becomes less dependent on your strength, but waves that gently carries you to the edge. What if waves not necessarily allows you to comeback and push you deeper and deeper into the open water. What if we are not necessary against. Can we be carried back to where we started from?

Plane has just landed. After quick passport control B.’s lungs felt cold wave of winter air coming from outside. Just one taxi call separated him from late night beer. He looked at his watch, it was right after midnight, all passengers were slowly disappearing with taxi drivers. Eventually he spotted lights of his white taxi coming from the gates. He left airport building and got inside the vehicle. Yet he wasn’t expecting that evening in ISTAN will start series of events and shake his further life. When B. begun his carrier, just like any other aid worker, he was awaiting abduction, IED explosion or PTSD trauma. Now he was thinking that life of aid workers is more ordinary. Most likely he will be hit by drunk driver in his hometown crosswalk while coming back from store, carrying his favorite cheese. He was still thinking about being wounded by random rebel invading his office. But he knew he won’t gonna throw laptop at him and hide in safe room with enough pasta to survive one week and no cooking stove.

The taxi driver parked at given address. B. grabbed his bag, did couple of pirouettes trying to catch the balance on a icy road and get inside the bar. U. was there, she came back to ISTAN that day. It was her second visit after she gone last summer. Did she even remember their last cigarette in the guesthouse balcony. It was almost dusk, soldiers were still giving glimpse of themselves randomly firing howitizer somewhere far. Rooms were already taken by other expats seduced by dreams after having enough vodka, but U. and B. were still smoking cigarette and observing sleeping neighbourhood. Was she even aware that B. was barely refraining from kiss her that time?

After few beers waiter came and brought bill. Just a few empty roads covered with fresh snow and they reached guesthouse. From all other nights with her it was second night. With another few beers the clock went off, it was 5:30 am, taxi driver just arrived and U.’s phone start ringing. She grabbed her suitcase and went to railway station to catch usual train to town where the frontline was cutting one nation. She again gone.

6:11 am, minus 25 outside, B. got inside the train, few minutes after speakers sizzled and wagon’s entrance door closed leaving behind cold air. Temperature inside slowly started increasing. They met in the evening. Small table of local restaurant slowly become full of expats, but no one of them were smoking except B. and U. They started sneaking outside and having few minutes of random talks. Both of them haven’t noticed that frequency of their cigarettes break slowly increased and they had more fun spending few minutes together outside than inside. Suddenly they realised that everyone already paid whole bill and was waiting outside. It supposed to be the last cigaret that evening. Maybe it was flashback of last summer night, maybe both of them already knew, but suddenly everything else disappeared. They stucked alone and knew. Sunrise wake them up. U. was standing in the kitchen drinking glass of water completely naked. Her morning nude was like a ritual. Something which still after all these days B. cannot forget. She could waking whole morning naked behaving so natural like she was wearing perfect dress. Grinding coffee, doing her slow routine, and making B. obsessed and willing to spend every single morning with her, watch her small butt. That very first morning she asked him if he feels sorry. He wasn’t, but somehow he knew what the previous night was about to bring, it was that air and that window she opened last summer. Maybe it was one of these one nightstands which neither shouldn’t be repeated nor happened at all, but the faith decided otherwise.

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