I wrote a book

“You look much better, you know?
Last time you were destroyed.”
“We met here after my story with Erika was over, right?”
“Yes, exactly. Now that I think about it, it seems like an eternity has passed.
What have you been doing all this time?”
“I wrote a book.”
“Excuse me?”
“You got it right.”
“My God, that’s wonderful. And what it is about?”
“About her.
About me.
About us.
How my life could have been with her by my side.”

Gezim Qadraku




While watching the mixture of colors that painted the sky, I reminded of the passage of a book I had read some time ago. I didn’t exactly remember the words the author had used, but he described the magic of being happy and being able to see it.
It almost never happens, if you think about it.
Unhappiness or bad time are more and more outrageous than a good time.
In those moments I realized that I could never forget that period.

That was one of those days when you prayed that they might last for eternity.
It was still a matter of minutes before people finished their working day and clogged the streets.
It seemed that the little nature still present in the city was enjoying its last breath, before witnessing the usual race of human beings.
It was still winter according to the calendar, but the heat of the sun’s rays gave the feeling that spring wanted to start its course earlier.
Everything seemed to be dressed in the indescribable color of the sky, a pinkish-orange that left you breathless.
There was no doubt that it would have been a very good sunset.

I went out for a walk after a warm and endless regenerating shower. I used to feel the chills of cold when I went out at that time, especially after washing. But that day was divine. The light spring jacket proved to be the right choice. I walked without a real destination, letting myself be hit by the sun’s rays and trying to enjoy the sounds of what was around me. The cries of the children at the playground, the brakes of the cars at the red light, the chirping of the birds and the gentle breeze that caressed my hair.

I decided that the best thing to do was to find a place that would allow me to have a view from the top of the city. I wanted to be in the highest possible place to enjoy the goodbye of the sun and the arrival of darkness.
I was really happy at that time and the funny thing is that there was no specific reason. For years, as I think everyone, I had mistakenly connected happiness to a goal, to a person or always to something.
That was definitely the happiest period of my life, even though I was far from all that was most dear to me. Yet I didn’t care about anything or anyone anymore and for the first time I liked the person I was looking at in the mirror.

It was inexplicable happiness that no one could have understood. I didn’t waste time trying to share it. I remembered Oscar Wilde’s words, he wrote that when he liked someone he didn’t reveal her/his name out because of jealousy.
I did the same with that part of my life, I didn’t show it to anyone and tried to enjoy it to the last drop.

I remember one detail of those moments, I always looked up.
I stared at the sky and tried to touch the stars.
I was happy and everything seemed to be possible.

Gezim Qadraku.


Direction nowhere

First days of May, but looking at people’s clothing it seems like late autumn. You can still see scarves and woolen hats.
Today is an odious day. Unceasing rain and biting wind. The classic to spend in the living room under the blankets, eating until you can’t eat any more while watching some useless program on television.

Instead, I am in this small village in southern Germany. I arrived a couple of minutes ago and the next train is in an exact hour. I have a tour of circumspection and I realize that the station is equipped only with a library and a bar. That’s all.

I enter the bar and order an espresso. The waiter asks me if I want to drink it “at the window“. That would be the series of tables arranged with a view to the outside, the parking of the station, or in a more secluded area at the bottom of the room.

I opt for “the window“. I don’t want to miss such a view. I take my place and observe the combination of colors of the chairs and tables. Light green and brown. I like it. It gives me the idea of a split between new and old. I sip the espresso with some fear, but I am happily surprised. It’s not bad at all. Perhaps low expectations play an important role in the judgment. I take out of my backpack the book I’m reading: “The sympathizer“, the Pulitzer Prize of 2015.

I read in a language that is not my native one and live in a country where another language is spoken. I’ve gone so far as to handle four idioms with enough ease. One never knows how many goals can reach. Between one line and the next, I let myself be distracted by the people who arrive at the station. I look up more and more often and enjoy the spectacle of everyday life. I look at people and try to guess their lives. It’s an exercise I’ve been doing since I was a child.
I created stories in my mind starting from reality because it has never been enough for me. Meanwhile, a young girl, too young, running with a stroller attracts my attention. I always wonder what motivates people to have children while they are in what is undoubtedly the best age. She enters the station and disappears in a blink of an eye.

Meanwhile, a stream of teenagers enter and leave the station like ants. I look at their faces and the way they are dressed. It reminds me of the importance I gave to the appearance when I was their age and the total disinterest I felt in school. As I resume the reading I feel a man behind me ordering something speaking in Italian. He knows the waiter. The two of them exchange a couple of jokes. I like the feeling I get when I understand someone who speaks a language other than the local one and this does not have the faintest idea that there is an unknown person around who can understand it. It gives me a feeling of power and control.

I have always needed to keep everything under control. Especially when I’m in a public place I don’t know. I keep reading while I keep my headphones, but all I really do is check the situation around me. I hear a gentleman asking the waiter where the sugar is. I have it. The cashier I assume points towards me and I hear the man moving to my direction. He touches my shoulder and, almost embarrassed, asks me if he can take the sugar. I pretend to fall from the pear tree and play the part. I am one step ahead, I have always been one step ahead. Nothing catches me unprepared. It is impossible to surprise me, I always know what happens, especially if they are people I know. People have become so predictable today that there is nothing interesting about establishing relationships. You only need to go around every social profile to have an almost perfect knowledge of an individual. And then they’re all so interested and focused on themselves. No one observes or tries to understand who is around them. They are impressed when you tell them the smallest details after a short conversation and they don’t understand how you were able to understand them so clearly. It’s so easy for me, a kind of hobby I’d say.

I keep reading, along with pauses to observe people outside.
I like it. For a moment I think I could live in the stations. That wouldn’t be a bad idea since all I need to do to work is my laptop and a Wi-Fi connection. I check the clock and I realize that forty minutes have passed. In twenty minutes I have the train. In ten minutes I get off the table.

I close the book and start to think about my next destination. A town in the south-east of Germany, on the border with Austria. A new reality, new people to know and stories to tell, at least I hope. I don’t know what I could call this period of my life.
As I get up, the words of Ghemon in the song “Voci nella testa” come to mind.
A rhyme says: “direction I don’t know well“.
I modify it, I could call this precise moment of my existence “direction nowhere“.
I don’t know where I’m going, but that’s okay.

Gezim Qadraku.

Il tempo di un caffè

Ricordo che in quel periodo mi ero preso questa abitudine di scrivermi la lista delle cose che desideravo fare durante la giornata.
Avevo letto un po’ di libri motivazionali e tutti suggerivano di mettere per iscritto il proprio programma quotidiano appena svegli e poi, prima di andare a dormire, segnare tutte le attività che si era stati in grado di svolgere.

Da’ una motivazione in più, spiegavano. Quando torni a casa e controlli quante cose sei riuscito a fare, in caso positivo, provi un senso di fierezza nei tuoi confronti. In caso contrario rimane comunque uno strumento utile per capire come organizzare la propria giornata.
Era un periodo nel quale mi svegliavo veramente presto ogni mattina, praticavo lo Yoga, mi allenavo prima di andare al lavoro e avevo totalmente cambiato la mia alimentazione. Abitudini lontane anni luce dalla mia passata quotidianità.

Dopo averla incontrata iniziai a lasciare sempre uno spazio vuoto tra le attività per lei. Ci conoscemmo tra i corridoi degli uffici. Lavorava due piani sopra al mio, ma molto spesso era costretta a scendere. Un giorno necessitava di parlare proprio con me e fu un’ottima scusa per fare una pausa e prenderci un caffè. Giusto il tempo di una breve chiacchierata e quella diventò una routine.

Caffè?” e ci si incontrava da qualche parte, con queste pause che iniziarono ad allungarsi sempre di più. E tutto diventava sempre più interessante. Lei, i suoi modi di fare, le sue abitudini e la sua timidezza che non ne sapeva di voler sparire. Le accennai che a breve me ne sarei dovuto andare dal quell’ufficio. Dall’alto mi avevano fatto sapere che le mie capacità servivano a dei nostri collaboratori in un’altra città.

Trasferirsi per lavoro, una cosa che avevo sempre amato. Un punto che probabilmente aveva giocato a mio favore durante il colloquio. Avevo dato la mia piena disponibilità nel muovermi e spostarmi periodicamente.

In quei giorni però, l’unica cosa che volevo fare era tornare indietro e non dare più quella disponibilità.
Capii perché avevo sempre avuto così tanta voglia di muovermi.
Non avevo mai avuto un motivo per fermarmi in un posto.
Mi accorsi che non mi era mai successo di pensare che una persona mi sarebbe potuta mancare.
Non l’avevo mai detto a nessuno, salutandolo: “mi mancherai“.
Era arrivato il momento e non sapevo proprio come gestirlo.
Avrei sentito la sua mancanza. Questo era poco ma sicuro.
Mi mancava ancora prima andarmene, mi mancava nonostante la vedessi ogni giorno e speravo che ogni secondo con lei potesse durare per sempre.
Nonostante fossimo coscienti che non ne sarebbe scaturito nulla di più, era comunque qualcosa. Un sentimento nuovo che mi aveva scombussolato la quotidianità.

Si stava bene in quegli attimi.
Non eravamo quel tipo di persone che hanno bisogno di parlare per capirsi e questo ci aveva avvicinati sin da subito, come lo possono ben comprendere tutte quelle persone che almeno una volta nella vita sono stati in silenzio con qualcuno per una serie di minuti senza sentirsi a disagio.
Senza provare quella terribile sensazione di dover per forza dire qualcosa.
Capita raramente, con poche persone, ed è giusto così.

Andammo avanti per un periodo che ora mi sembra infinito – ripensandoci – ma all’epoca mi parve un battito di ciglia. Finché non glielo dissi, perché alla fine poi le cose bisogna dirle. E bisogna farlo guardando negli occhi le persone. Cosa che con lei mi riusciva più semplice. Mi trovavo a mio agio guardandola, mi sentivo al sicuro dentro alle sue pupille.

Non è mai abbastanza” le confessai, accarezzandole un sopracciglio e perdendomi per l’ennesima volta nei suoi occhioni.
Cosa?” mi domandò lei, con un tono sorpreso e curioso.
Il tempo con te!“replicai io, sorridendo.
Cercando in qualche modo di mostrarle quanto stare con lei mi rendeva felice.

Gezim Qadraku.

Which war?

There was war in Kosovo and I was in first grade.
There was war, but I didn’t know.
I never heard that word at home.
Yet our people died.
My grandfather died in those days and other relatives of mine.
My mother lost a part of herself forever.
And I didn’t notice anything.

There was war in my country and yet my life continued.
I went to school and training.
I used to play in the park with my classmates.
I used to watch cartoons, do my homework and who knows what I dreamed of becoming.
Maybe the astronaut or maybe a footballer.

There was war, but I didn’t know it.
My parents watched the news secretly.
They talked in a low voice with their relatives.
They were hiding everything from me.
They didn’t show the pain that was destroying them.

Then the war ended and we returned to Kosovo.
We entered a house I didn’t know about.
There was my grandmother, uncle, aunt, and my cousins.
My grandfather wasn’t there.
Maybe he is gone somewhere, I thought.
But then everyone began to cry and I understood.
I didn’t ask for anything because I immediately understood what had happened.
I had seen the damages the war had done after we got off the plane.
I had seen the houses destroyed by the flames, the marks of the bullets on the buildings, the streets full of holes, the faces of the people.
I was seeing the war now.
Now that it was over.

There had been war and I hadn’t noticed it.
Now that room full of people seemed to be the emptiest place that existed.
The walls were completely white and empty.
The furniture was ugly.
The people were sad.
No one laughed.
The smell of death was still there.
There had been war and it had ruined our lives, but I hadn’t noticed.

There had been war and I hadn’t seen my parents suffer.
They had hidden everything.
They had not shown the slightest pain.
Then I understood how much they loved me.
I told myself that I should have done the same with the people I loved.
I should have only shown them the happy part and never the sad part.
I should have never told them how much I was suffering.
I understood that that way I would have only made them feel bad too and I would have never forgiven myself.

There had been war and my parents had kept it all inside.
They had unwittingly taught me how to handle pain.
Crying inside.
To always show the smile.
Not asking for help.
To say that everything is fine.
There was war, but I didn’t know it.

Gezim Qadraku.

(Wikiwand Images)