On Bucovat Hill, Romania

A little vignette which I wrote years ago, 5 years ago to be precise when I was just 19 years old. A little vignette to sustain the blog. This is, ‘On Bucovat Hill’.



As a final goodbye they take us to Bucovat Hill. With the scent of cherry shisha smoke lingering in our hair we drive out of Craiova. Further and further into the darkness of the outskirts of town, summer’s insatiable desire for adventure chasing us on. We wind our way to the top of the hill, a solitary car tracing its headlights on the road. Catalin speeds as we turn each slow-curving corner so that we slide into each other in the back seat amidst the chaos of our cacophonous laughter.

When we reach a peak we park the car at the side of the road and look out across the vast collection of lights which make up Craiova. At some point on the horizon they merge with the fainter light of stars as if they are the mirror image, like water when it meets the sky. The light is infinite. Inside, I gasp. Far away from the light pollution of that grey, intoxicating town the entire universe is stretched out around us.

The luminous S of the Milky Way snakes above our heads and I wish on the spark of a shooting star that I could stay here forever, or at least, that life could be as good as this again.

We lie in the road; a jigsaw of bodies. Iulius, Catalin, Tom and I. Heads together, limbs strewn across each other: we can’t stop giggling. Something about the spurious sense that we are risking our lives, lying in the road on this deserted hill: is delicious food for laughter.  Then, headlights move in the darkness and we get up in a panic even though they are miles away – distant searchlights. We fall about the road again, with heady joy.

We put my camera on the roof of the car on a timer and stand with the lights behind, waiting for the flashing red as it quickens to become the blinding flash of our photo.  Captured time.  I never want to leave, and yet something inside me; a dull, distant pain, tells me I will never come back.

As we drive down the hill, back towards the city, our voices fade although singing: Hai Craiova! Hai Craiova! Oltenia Eterna Terra nova.

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